Monday, 7 October 2013

Book review: Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff


My edition: Hardcover, published on 5 September 2013 by Puffin, 195 pages.

Description: Mila is on a roadtrip across the USA with her father. They are looking for his best friend but Mila discovers a more important truth.

Sometimes the act of searching reveals more than the final discovery can.

Adults do not have all the answers. It all depends what questions you ask.

A brilliantly atmospheric exploration of someone on the brink of adulthood, from Meg Rosoff, the prizewinning author of How I Live Now - now a major film starring Saoirse Ronan.


Rating:



Mila and her father have travelled all the way from England to the USA to visit one of her father's best friends who they both haven't seen in years. However, when the friend goes missing before they even arrive the two of them set out on a roadtrip in an attempt to find him. On their journey they meet an eclectic range of individuals - from a friendly waitress in a roadside diner to a teenaged boy in a cabin in the woods - and their mission to find one missing man turns into an eye-opening adventure for Mila.

I read Meg Rosoff's arguably most famous novel How I Live Now several years ago and I was really taken in by this unique story and Rosoff's style of writing. In fact, I loved the novel so much that I picked it as the book I gave out on World Book Night 2013, which was my personal attempt to get more people to read it. So I was very excited when a few weeks ago I found out that the author had just released a new young adult novel and I thought the blurb sounded really interesting too.

First off I should say that this really feels like a Rosoff novel. The sentence structure is short and to the point and while the book looks small, there's a lot of story packed within the pages. Once again there are no quotation marks which I assume to mean that none of the words that are attributed to the characters can actually be taken at face value as they're all retold by the protagonist Mila herself.

The incredibly clever Mila is a delight to read about and I particularly loved discovering the US, its people and their customs through her British eyes. She's witty, wise and her astonishing perception of the world around her made for a fascinating view on and unique approach to some very serious adult themes.

The one thing that did feel implausible to me throughout the novel was that Mila is supposed to be only 12 years old. Her remarkable intelligence aside, she consistently acted and was treated as someone at least five years her senior. With her father heavily leaning on her for support she often came across as the adult in situations she shouldn't have been put in in the first place.

Her relationship with her (former) best friend Cat also felt a little out of the field and while frequently touched upon, didn't seem to serve a purpose in its own right and was left unresolved at the end. This was a shame, because a girl her own age could've been exactly what the novel needed to bring the character closer to herself, but Cat too acted much older than she really is, which added to the confusion from a reader's perspective.

These two issues aside I did find Picture Me Gone an interesting and compelling coming-of-age novel. Rosoff's witty writing style suited Mila very well and made this a fresh contemporary story, recommendable for teenagers on the verge of adulthood.

You can purchase your copy from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Waterstones or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Website: www.megrosoff.co.uk

Twitter: @megrosoff


Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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