- Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Twelve-year-old Londoner Mila is headed to upstate New York with her father while her violinist mother tours. Instead of visiting Matthew, her father’s oldest friend, Mila and her father instead find themselves on a quest for a missing man when it turns out that Matthew disappeared days before their expected arrival. After a brief visit with the family Matthew left behind, father and daughter embark on a roadtrip down small highways and back roads with Matthew’s dog in tow, meeting quirky small-town strangers and finding other old friends in unexpected places. [End Page 235] Along the way Mila uses her gift for piecing together overlooked details to uncover Matthew’s secrets, hoping to find any clue to his whereabouts, but she learns more about her father and herself than anyone else. Equal parts mystery, family drama, and coming-of-age story, this captivating narrative weaves elements of a literal road-trip quest with a girl’s search for meaning. The novel is strong in plotting and in tone, and it creates solid parallels between Mila’s actual and psychological journeys, deftly mixing descriptions of what she sees and people she meets with the jumble of emotions that color her experiences. Rosoff masterfully captures the perspective of a twelve-year-old girl who’s teetering between innocence and knowing too much, and gives her a voice to match. Despite her seemingly preternatural gift of insight, Mila emerges as a quintessential budding adolescent, wanting to be both protected and in the loop. Touching, genuine, and at times both poignant and funny, this novel is likely to please fans of period mysteries like Blundell’s What I Saw and How I Lied (BCCB 12/08) looking for similar intrigue in a contemporary setting.