“I am not given to dreaminess, have something of a terrier’s determination. If there is something to notice, I will notice it first.” Despite being just 12 and a half, Mila is often relied upon for her attention to detail. She sees things her musician mother and translator father, Gil, don’t. So when her father’s best friend disappears without a trace, he brings her along on a trip from London to upstate New York. There’s a longer view to this mystery that Mila can’t make out at first—but when she does, it shatters everything that came before. Picture Me Gone gathers these glimpses and fragments into something raw and real.

Printz Award winner Meg Rosoff presents us with a beautiful contradiction: Mila is emotionally walled off in many respects, but every feeling she experiences hits the reader directly in the heart. Her parents’ love is unyielding, but their failures are the catalyst for Mila’s growth. She recognizes that her limited life experiences give her a truncated range of possible scenarios to consider as she tries to solve the mystery. However, she’s unaware that love has expanded her blind spot to the people she trusts, not all of whom are honest.

While the themes in Picture Me Gone are heavy hitting, Mila also has a first brush with romance, reconnects with a friend and is perpetually nonplussed by Americans who compliment her London accent. What she learns on the trip is bruising, but her resilience develops as a result, and for readers it’s a privilege to be along for the ride.

Read Picture Me Gone. If Mila doesn’t touch your heart, check with a doctor because you might be dead. She’s complex, fragile, resilient and utterly unforgettable.

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