Book Review of The Vale Girl

9781742612423Nelika McDonald’s The Vale Girl demonstrates every negative stereotype about small country towns in Australia – the small-mindedness, prejudice, gossiping and pressure fit into the mould.

While the Main Street of Banville is quaint and picturesque, when loner Sarah Vale – daughter of the local prostitute – goes missing, the seedier nature of the town pushes to the forefront. Instead of the residents madly working together to find the local girl, their distaste for her leads to a serious lack of inaction.

Told from a variety of perspectives,The Vale Girl is a reasonably interesting if not wholly original Australian novel which may appeal to fans of Jasper Jones – a better novel by far, in my opinion. While I had to persevere to begin with, about half way through I found myself genuinely concerned about Sarah’s fate, partially due to some clever narrative choices made by McDonald. If you don’t expect this to set the world on fire, you may find a few hours pleasantly spent in its company.


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