A brilliantly atmospheric exploration of someone on the brink of adulthood, from prizewinning author Meg Rosoff, author of 'How I Live Now.' This is a compelling read in the tradition of Meg's acclaimed novels such as 'What I Was' and 'Just in Case." (synopsis from Netgalley)
Picture Me Gone is an interesting, introspective piece of literature. When I first started reading it, it read very similarly to Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Of course, it is a very separate novel that deals with very separate themes, but I think fans of Haddon's will really enjoy this book.
It starts out with Mila, a young girl about to go on a holiday with her father. The plan is that Gil (Mila's father) will have a reunion with his best friend, Matthew. Things go northbound, however, when the two arrive and find that Matthew has gone missing. It's now up to Mila and Gil to find him before it's too late.
I made this book sound like some sort of adventure-thriller-hybrid, but I'd like to start off by saying that it really isn't. It is gentle and soft, and an enjoyable change of pace for the YA genre.
I love the writing in Picture Me Gone. It's very different in tone to the only other novel of Rosoff's I've read (How I Live Now), and successfully carries the voice of a precocious twelve year old who understands too much of the world at too young an age. I will admit, that like with How I Live Now, I had some trouble with the lack of speech punctuation. Call me a grammar nazi all you want, it just bothers me. It's a good way to warm up to Cormac McCarthy though.
I loved how distinct Rosoff made most of the characters. This is no doubt, helped through Mila's Sherlockian-style gift, but nonetheless, I found each character to be quite unique. Most were well-developed with just as many flaws as virtues.
Rosoff also did a great job with her setting. She really got the contrast between the USA and the UK. The way everyone Mila met asking about her accent? A+ job.
I think my absolute favourite part of the book though, were the themes and subjects it dealt with. The novel took a road I hadn't expected. Rosoff did an extraordinarily good job with it though. She made it so much more provocative and definitely added layers to the story that both adults and teenagers will identify with.
This isn't a perfect novel, however. Throughout, I sometimes found that the pacing was lacking. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it quickened towards the end, but it just dampened my reading experience.
I also took issue with the character of Caitlin. While I found most of the characters well-developed, she was one that lacked any. I truly couldn't understand why Mila was friends with her. Yes, there were moments where we had a glimpse of what she was like, I just wish we'd seen more of it. I couldn't sympathise with her, no matter how hard I tried.
Overall, Picture Me Gone was quite enjoyable. Like I mentioned above, if you're a fan of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I thoroughly recommend you pick this up. Gentle in tone, and surprisingly introspective, Picture Me Gone is a lovely and quick read.
Rating: ***.5 (3.5 stars)
Date of Publication: September 25th 2013
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Thank you to Penguin Australia and NetGalley for providing me with this e-arc