Publisher: Putnam Juvenilebook Review

Audience: 10-12

How I got it: Gift

About This Book: picture 

Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room—sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook. So when her father’s best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past—slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when she’s closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best.

My Review:

This book had many excellent qualities. I loved the idea of being able to “read” people and places and quickly figure out what was going on. The descriptions were beautiful. Writing? Exquisite.

This novel did have its cliché moments, but I mostly enjoyed being unable to predict what was coming next. Picture Me Gone is a mystery but I can usually predict how a mystery story is going to end up within the first few chapters. Not this time. I could never be certain what plot twist Meg Rosoff was going to throw at me next and I liked that. It added flavor to an otherwise bland novel.

But I didn’t like this book, for many different reasons.

 The main character, Mila could be rather irritating at times and her voice is WAY older than the 12 years old  that she is supposed to be! Perhaps she is a child genius, I thought, but no one treated her like one or ever spoke about it. If you didn’t know her age, you would assume that Mila was 15 or 16. She did have the ability to “read” people that would have been more interesting if Ms. Rosoff had explained it more. Is it a form of magic? Why did Mila have this gift? What are the rules and limitations of her ability?

I love when a novel with a strong voice. Splendid! But Mila has a chatty voice and in an attempt to make it even chattier and more personal, the author removed ALL QUOTATION MARKS from the book. So instead of:

“I am hungry,” Bob mumbled

It read:

I am hungry, Bob mumbled

I didn’t like this. I found it more challenging to follow the story when I was unable to tell dialogue from internal monologue. Sometimes, I just wanted to do this:


Yep. So overall, Picture Me Gone may have the potential for someone to love it, it just did not work for me. It felt uptight and very literary, like something I would read for English class. That is not what I like to read for fun. Of course, this is just my opinion. You can check out another review at Things Mean a Lot that raves about Picture Me Gone!

2/5 Stars

  About The Author:

Meg Rosoff was born in Boston, educated at Harvard and St Martin’s College of Art, and worked in New York City for ten years before moving to London permanently in 1989.  She worked in publishing, politics, PR and advertising until 2004, when she wrote her first novel, How I Live Now, which won the Guardian Children’s fiction prize (UK), Michael L Printz prize (US), the Die Zeit children’s book of the year (Germany) and was shortlisted for the Orange first novel award.  Her second novel, Just in Case, won the 2007 Carnegie Medal.  Meg’s latest book is The Bride’s Farewell.  She lives in London with her husband, daughter and two very hairy dogs.

GIF Verdict


2 Comments on Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

  1. writersideup
    March 5, 2014 at 3:11 am (3 years ago)

    Sam, I appreciate an honest review! I’m guessing this may have been self-published because the problems you bring up are the kinds of things a book editor would pick up on and have the author fix. It does sound like this author has a talent with words and plotting though! Here’s hoping for better work in the future 🙂

    • Sam
      March 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm (3 years ago)

      This wasn’t self-published, actually. The author is an excellent writer but this just isn’t the type of book I enjoy.


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