Monday, 22 June 2015

Review: Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

Title: Picture Me Gone
Author: Meg Rosoff
Cover Artist: Niklas Sagebiel and Zoe Norfolk
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: 5th September 2013
Genre: YA Mystery 
Page Count: 195
Original Language: English
Format Read: Hardcover 
Other books in series: N/A
Movie Adaptation: N/A

My good friend Kendal gave me this book last Christmas and it is a beautiful hardcover edition with Rosoff's signature printed on the inside cover, so of course I was so excited to read it. Plus, she had bought me some Lush products and put it them in the bag with the book, so it still smells of Lush and its probably the nicest smelling book I've ever had.

I've also had this review in my draft file for about six months (editor's note: a year), so sorry about that Kendal!

Anyway, onto the review!


Mila has a gift. 

She can read a room, a person, a situation - and tell if you're happy, or pregnant, or having an affair.

When her father's best friend, Matthew, goes missing, Mila joins in the search. She sees clues no one else notices, facts everyone overlooks.

But the answers refuse to line up and Matthew refuses to be found.

Is there something Mila has missed? Something closer to home than she ever imagined? 

The first page:

*Spoiler Alert - this review does not assume you are familiar with the story's ending*

I picked up this book not knowing what to think of it. I hadn't heard of it or Rosoff before, but by looking at the reviews and such beforehand I understood that it was seen as quite the gem of a book, and Rosoff is a highly esteemed author as I gathered.

I've heard that this book possesses many people, and for me this rang really true. I read this whilst on holiday last year and I remember just not caring about where I was or how much I should be relaxing, because all I wanted to do was read this book. And that's a good feeling to have about a book. It really did possess me, and I let it.

One thing that struck me as strange... not really strange as such, but different, was the complete lack of speech marks. Many different countries have different ways of providing their speech in novels and its not always with speech marks, but the original language is English and so it was a change to read something without the use of them. I thought it would ruin my reading experience, but Rosoff handles it perfectly and because the story flowed so easily you really didn't need speech marks to know when Mila or her father or any other character was speaking. It was very well done and I never thought I would feel comfortable reading a book like that but it didn't present any difficulties whatsoever.

Another thing that I liked about it was that the novel was really well balanced and raw. I don't usually call books raw, but I just felt something about it was unlike other novels. I can't pinpoint what it was exactly, but something felt special. I drew out some emotions such as fear and curiosity and empathy in ways that other books cannot. That was a cool feeling.

The only thing I didn't feel was right was the fact that Mila was supposed to be 12 years old, and yet she had such a mature voice that it was as though someone in their late teens was speaking to me. It wasn't 100% believable that such an independently-minded and trustworthy narrator would be so young, and this was the only problem that I had with the novel as I was reading it. I sometimes forgot that Mila was 12 and it felt more natural that she should have been at least 14 or 15. Its not a major issue, but the characterisation depended on those mature qualities, and no 12 year old is so sure of herself and so 'flawless' (as flawless as a human being can be) in the real world, so it just didn't translate for me.

Despite this, I still highly recommend this novel. I want to read some more of Rosoff's work but this was an extremely good starting point for anyone who is like me and hasn't heard much about her before. My copy is gorgeous so I suggest the hardback, as it isn't too thick, and for average readers with a few hours spare you could read the majority of it and feel as though it was worth it. I have given it four out of five cups of tea, and would definitely enjoy re-reading it at some point. 

About the author:

Meg Rosoff is an American writer based in London. She is best known for the novel How I Live Now, which won the Guardian PrizePrintz Award, and Branford Boase Award and made the Whitbread Awards shortlist. Her second novel, Just In Case won the annual Carnegie Medal from the British librarians recognising the year's best children's book published in the U.K.

Where to find Meg Rosoff: website, twitter,


  1. This is a novel that deals with relationships, people we love, secrets, lies and betrayals. It is also a novel of what truth is and the strength of the human heart-and Meg Rosoff handles all these things and more with grace, beauty and aplomb.

    I can’t wait to read it again.

  2. Love, love LOVE this review! I felt exactly the same way about this book. It's great, but also really hard to describe as to WHY it's great. So odd. I also thought the lack of speech marks was awesome, an unusual technique but it really works and makes you feel even closer to the protagonist.


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