Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Vale Girl by Nelika McDonald

Title:  The Vale Girl
Author:  Nelika McDonald
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication Date:  1st August 2013
ISBN:  9781742612423
Stand alone or series: Stand Alone  
Pages:  320 pages
Book Received from:  Publisher
First Lines:  I live in Banville, a small town that begins and ends at no discerible point in the middle of bloody nowhere.

Synopsis:Fifteen- year old Sarah Vale has disappeared from the small town of Banville.
Resident copper Sergeant Henson attempts to find the missing girl but the locals dismiss his investigations. What would you expect with a mother like hers anyway?
No one really cares except teenager Tommy Johns - for Sarah Vale takes a straight line to his heart.
And, sometimes, one true champion is all it takes to tear a town's veneer apart.

My Thoughts:
I'm glad I was sent The Vale Girl.  Right from the the Prologue I was drawn in.. and the moment I began reading this, I knew I was going to have a hard time putting it down.

The story revolves around the lead up and the disappearance of Sarah Vale a fifteen year old girl living in the small town of Banville.  A town that surprisingly attracts its share of tourists with the popular Grevillea Festival held in the main part of town

Chapter One is a real eye opener.  It begins with Sarah collecting money from various hidey holes to keep up with the Vale household bills.  Right here, it's clear Sarah is the responsible adult in the parent daughter relationship.  From here on in, I could tell Sarah was on her own.  Her travels to school are no better, dealing with bullies and having the neighbour all but look the other way but hang around out the front until the bullies are on their way.  The neighbour stays long enough after for a quick smile before ducking off back inside.  This behaviour is quite weird to me until I realise what year the novel is based in, as well as how small the town of Banville actually is.

Everybody knows everyone else, and reputation and money more often than not trumps the deeds one does in a small town.  In the late 1960s it's hard to imagine that a human being could turn the other way when someone is in need of help but when the person you thought was doing the wrong thing, also supplied you another service, it would be silly to bite the hand that feeds you.. so to speak.  So things get swept under the rug.  And that unfortunately is the way things are for the people in Banville.  So when poor Sarah goes missing, everyone's lips are sealed and no one knows anything, which certainly makes the Sergeants job that little bit harder.  But thanks to a persistent teen named Tommy who also happens to be Sarah's only friend, and a Sergeant with his gut feeling something isn't right, this one can't be swept under the rug and forgotten.

The Vale Girl is told through a number of viewpoints including Sarah, Tommy, Sergeant Henson, and another character, the story ropes you in and has you hanging for another piece of the puzzle.

Nelika McDonald has an awesome knack for bringing a town and it's characters to life in a believable and authentic setting.

Definitely a recommended read!

Fave Line:  There were so many I loved!   'Sometimes when you think you want something its only when you get it that you realise you were wrong. That it wasn't what you wanted at all. But by then it's usually too late.'


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