Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Mila is spending her Easter break traveling from London to the United States with her father. They plan to visit one of his oldest friends, Matthew, and his family. But days before they are to set off, they hear that Matthew has gone missing and his wife has no idea where he might be but urges them to come anyway. Mila has long known that she has exceptional perception skills: she can tell when someone is pregnant before they even know, can read emotions quickly and can easily gather clues from a room. So when they arrive, she quickly realizes several things about Matthew and his family. As she gets closer to solving the mystery, it all gets more complicated and soon Mila has to even question whether her father is being honest with her.
Rosoff writes so beautifully. She takes time here in the book to create a family dynamic in Mila’s father and mother that is strong and buoyant. She also carefully builds the background of Mila’s life, so that readers will understand what a different situation Mila finds herself in. A theme of translation runs through the entire novel. Mila’s father is a translator of books, Mila has to translate to American English, Mila can understand the language of objects and read nuances into them, and there is also the language of pain and loss that permeates the book. It is a theme that unites this book from one of a road trip into a quest.
Mila is a very intriguing character. She is both wildly perceptive and then also unaware at times. All of the characters in the book are fully developed and well drawn. Her parents are real people with their own pasts and foibles. I particularly enjoyed the almost brittle portrayal of Matthew’s abandoned wife who seems very one dimensional at first, but then at the end shows more of herself in a subtle way.
A virtuoso book that is rather quiet, very thoughtful and filled with insights just like Mila herself. Appropriate for ages 13-15.
Reviewed from library copy.
The 2013 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards were announced in early October. Happily, Independent Publisher has a list of all of the medalists.
There are 165 medalists in all, selected from over 1200 entries. They award in very specific categories and have three medalists in each category. Additionally, they award e-book awards as well. The result is a list of books that you will not see on other award lists, making this a fascinating group of books to explore.
Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that I hope you find interesting:
Baby Horn BOO! – The Horn Book http://buff.ly/1chUBcx
The Millions : 5 Series You Probably Missed as a Kid (But Should Read as an Adult) http://buff.ly/1aEtGIu
The Most Terrifying Story You’ll Ever Hear (Benjamin Percy reads Goodnight Moon) | Graywolf Press http://buff.ly/1cprmo9
One woman’s quest to get kids reading in the Arab world http://buff.ly/1aEEPct
Purrfect reads – The Horn Book http://buff.ly/1aLMS7t
Sandra Greaves’s top 10 ghost stories | Children’s books http://buff.ly/1cpsKqI
UAEBBY approves final shortlist for Arabic children’s literature award http://buff.ly/1irv9mn
ALA Moves Forward in Ebook Arena | American Libraries Magazine http://buff.ly/1clEzOO
HarperCollins begins selling ebooks directly to readers – http://buff.ly/1aHSL5B
The Official SCBWI Blog: Have You Heard Of The Independent E-Book Stores? http://buff.ly/HteDq4
Why is the Ebook Business So Out of Sync with Consumers? | Publishing Perspectives http://buff.ly/HunXLf
Community Creativity: Enabling local publishing in libraries | American Libraries Magazine http://buff.ly/1clZX6H
Internet Librarian 2013 – Web Trends to Watch in 2014 | Librarian in Black Blog – Sarah Houghton http://buff.ly/1ci6ijw
Make it @ your library website launches, connecting librarians with makerspace projects – http://buff.ly/1aECZZ3
Embattled Snowden email provider returns with new Dark Mail encryption service | The Verge http://buff.ly/1aEHwZK
Google Channels Pixar to Change Storytelling as We Know It | Wired Business http://buff.ly/16KbRc6
Online Anonymity Is Not Only for Trolls and Political Dissidents | Electronic Frontier Foundation http://buff.ly/HtdtuI
Books Against Bullies http://buff.ly/1cpqZKp
Random House acquires Figment, the teen writing site founded by Condé Nast vets — Tech News and Analysis http://buff.ly/1aEMkzY