At the start of McMahon's haunting second novel (after Promise Not to Tell), recent college grad Rhonda Farr witnesses a child abduction in front of a convenience store in Pike's Crossing, Vt. Ernestine Ernie Florucci willingly leaves her mother's car because her six-foot-tall abductor is wearing a rabbit suit. Rhonda remembers her best friend Lizzy's father entertaining her and Lizzy in a rabbit costume in 1993, and vanishing soon after. Three years later, Lizzy disappeared en route to high school. Guilt over her inability to stop Ernie's abduction spurs Rhonda to join the search for the girl. She recalls the summer that Lizzy's older brother, Peter, had them all perform Peter Pan, which was a great success, but there were dark secrets beneath the makeshift stage. McMahon expertly shifts between pivotal events in the past and present-day action, building tension to a resolution both poignant and shattering. (May)
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While parked at a gas station, Rhonda sees something so incongruously surreal that at first she hardly recognizes it as a crime in progress. She watches, unmoving, as someone dressed in a rabbit costume kidnaps a young girl. Devastated over having done nothing, Rhonda joins the investigation. But the closer she comes to identifying the abductor, the nearer she gets to the troubling truth about another missing child: her best friend, Lizzy, who vanished years before.
From the author of the acclaimed Promise Not to Tell comes a chilling and mesmerizing tale of shattered innocence, guilt, and ultimate redemption.
As in her assured debut novel, Promise Not to Tell (2007), McMahon offers a moving if bittersweet portrait of childhood. When a person dressed up in a rabbit costume abducts a little girl out of her car, the lone witness, Rhonda, is too stunned to act. As the small rural town mobilizes a search for the missing child, Rhonda, reeling with guilt, is reminded of another girl who went missing—her closest friend from childhood, Lizzy. Joyful memories of their youth spent putting on plays and exploring the woods alternate with darker moments: losing the love of her life, Lizzy’s brother, Peter, and the year an increasingly disheveled and moody Lizzy stopped talking to her or anyone else. Past and present merge as Rhonda closes in on the costumed abductor and also on the dark family secrets that tore their perfect childhood apart. McMahon spends a good deal of time setting the stage; however, once the pieces of the intricate plot are in place, readers will be hooked on both the mystery element and the coming-of-age aspects of this atmospheric novel. --Joanne Wilkinson
“Island of Lost Girls is an unsettling account of the secret lives of children, told in unexpected twists and turns, as if Alice had fallen down the wrong rabbit hole and lost her childhood. McMahon never flinches, but her readers will at every dark secret.” (Keith Donohue, bestselling author of THE STOLEN CHILD)
“Haunting . . . McMahon expertly shifts between pivotal events in the past and present-day action, building tension to a resolution both poignant and shattering.” (Publishers Weekly)
“As in her assured debut novel, PROMISE NOT TO TELL, McMahon offers a moving if bittersweet portrait of childhood . . . readers will be hooked on both the mystery element and the coming-of-age aspects of this atmospheric novel.” (Booklist)
“Well-crafted.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“[McMahon’s] smart mystery-thriller grabs you by the throat and won’t let go....making this a page-turner you’ll neglect sleep for.” (3 ½ Stars) (People)
Jennifer McMahon is the New York Times bestselling author of Don't Breathe a Word, Dismantled, Island of Lost Girls, and Promise Not to Tell. She grew up in suburban Connecticut and graduated from Goddard College. Over the years, she has been a house painter, farm worker, paste-up artist, pizza delivery person, and homeless–shelter staff member, and she has worked with mentally ill adults and children in various capacities. She lives in Vermont with her partner, Drea, and their daughter, Zella.