Publisher/Year: Putnam Juvenile- October 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: How I Live Now, What I Was Now, Just In Case, There Is No Dog
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!
“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. ”
I liked Picture Me Gone when I read it but unfortunately I felt like I had nothing to really say about it and found that after I had read 2 books or so I kind of forgot about it altogether? It felt special when I read it but overall it just didn’t linger and was kind of forgettable which was interesting considering, while I was reading it, it stood out to me because it felt pretty unique.
Picture Me Gone was a quiet, thought-provoking type of novel. I thought it was going to be more of mystery than it really was and that aspect really was sort of underwhelming but I was okay with that because of Mila’s narrative and all the things she was observing and learning along the way. As Mila journeys with her dad to find his best friend, who has disappeared and left behind a wife and a child, she observes some of the details that could help her solve the mystery that others may have missed. It was a pretty slow going novel, especially because I thought it was going to be MORE of a mystery than it was, but I didn’t mind being in Mila’s brain and listen to her very thoughtful observations about Matthew’s potential motives, her theories and just about all the parties involved. I rather liked watching everything unfold from her perspective.
I really liked her Mila’s POV. She’s 12 but very wise beyond her years and mature. I think, in some ways, I kept forgetting that she was 12 because her thought seemed quite a bit older and that was a bit problematic because it wasn’t convincing as a reader that she was actually 12 but I enjoyed her nonetheless. She’s precocious and observant and in some ways her narrative reminded me a little of The Curious Incident of Dog In The Night Time. She was just different and I liked it. So much wisdom came from her watching the mystery of her dad’s friend slowly become solved but there was also this sense of her eyes being open to the complexities of adulthood and I think she really sees adults, even parents, in a different light as this trip progresses.
I really, really enjoyed the writing — it was beautiful and always seemed to contain some nugget of truth. It was a bit confusing at first, though, with the dialogue because there are no quotation marks so it took some time to get used to but other than that the writing was a really big standout for me with this one.
“I wonder at what point a child becomes a person. Does it happen all at once, or slowly, in stages? Is there an age, a week, a moment, at which all the secrets of the universe are revealed and adulthood descends on a cloud from heaven, altering the brain forever? Will the child-me slink off one day, never to return?”
I really felt like Picture Me Gone was a unique read when I read it but honestly when I put some distance between it it became kind of forgettable which was sad. I don’t want to take that away from how much I liked it when I was reading it but I feel like that’s relevant to my overall, longstanding feelings of it. I loved the writing and how unique it was because I do love a bit of a slow, thoughtful read that makes me think and leaves me with so many quotes I dogeared. I really did love Mila’s POV but there is no way she felt 12 to me — or else I just don’t know any 12 years quite like her — but she brought something fresh to my reading experience. ALSO, the summary makes this seem more of a mystery, and while there’s this underlying “what happened to Mathew?” it’s not really a mystery.
Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, what did you think?