Picture Me Gone

9780141344034 Title: Picture Me Gone Author: Meg Rosoff Publisher: Penguin Books Format: Hardback Standalone/Series: Standalone Pages: 208   Plot: The plot shows a lot of promise. It tells the story of Mila and her father, Gil, jetting off to America to help search for Matthew, Gil’s friend, after he disappears and solve the mystery behind his disappearance. Mila has “special powers” (that got me excited) but really, she’s just observant. Nothing much happens in the book. There’s nothing exciting throughout and very few obstacles. I like how Rosoff deals with secrets and betrayals but apart from that, the ending was anticlimatic and it lacked the pzazz that I was looking for. 11/20 Narration: The narrative style is first person, from the point of view of Mila, a 12-year-old girl. I liked Mila’s voice but she reads as much older than her age. Her “special powers” seem to suggest that she has a somewhat supernatural ability while instead, she is really perceptive; in fact, too perceptive for a 12-year-old. Her voice is strong though and she’s a likeable narrator and character. She adds a bit of personality to the story. Mila has a tendency to delve into anecdotes that, sometimes do, and other times don’t, connect with the story but either way, ultimately remove us from the action of what’s happening in the plot. 10/20 Character: The character cast is not as diverse as I would have liked and with the exception of Catlin, there’s not much characterisation to witness. She is the star of the story, the secret sauce on the burger you love but the rest of the characters are the lettuce; bland and not especially necessary. Forgettable, even. 7/20 Quality of Writing: The quality of the writing was average, at best, but as this was targeted towards a 12 and up (to 17) audience, I believe that the writing is too simplistic for the audience is intended for. Rosoff also uses language that, while appropriate for her audience, is not appropriate for a 12-year-old girl. If this was really meant to be marketed as a YA novel, it’s too short and too simple for the audience and and I find it rather insulting as someone that reads YA lit. With all of the amazing YA debuts and series that are out there, this book doesn’t hit the mark. It can’t even find the mark. 6/20 Setting: The setting was the only aspect of the book that did read strongly. Mila describes her surroundings in America, everything from Matthew’s family home to his secret cabin, with vivd detail. She also compares it to her home in England and while it is great to draw a contrast between the two, sometimes it’s unnecessary. 8/10 Comparative Literature: I struggle to find something new and exciting about this book that makes it stand out from the pack and aside from Mila’s poorly explained “special powers”, there’s nothing new or intriguing in this book. It’s not the worst book I’ve ever read but it’s a long way from being the best. 5/10   Overall Score: 49/100

NOW SKIP TO THE GOOD BIT…

  • A far-from-believable narrator
  • Good scene setting
  • Betrayal and secrets galore
  • Poor characterisation
  • Anti-climatic ending

Books You May Also Like: Skullduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy – for fantasy meets mystery, great-world building and a masterclass in how betrayal, secrets, twists and turns are done Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher – for a funny narrator, characters that are dealing with real problems and a terrible secret that will keep you reading to the last page She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick – for a clever and thought-provoking mystery

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April 14, 2014 · 8:16 am

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