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Monday, November 11, 2013

Picture Me Gone, written by Meg Rosoff. Doubleday Canada, Random House. 2013. $18.95 ages 12 and up

"I've become very good at it, says she. And then she kisses him on the back of the neck if he is bent over his work, and he reaches up one hand and buries his fingers in her thick hair and she turns her head and kisses his wrist. There is something in this gesture that make me feel completely safe. Despite the fact that the scene does not include me, it does not exclude me either."

Mila and her father had made a plan to spend her Easter break in the United States, visiting with an old friend of her father and his family. Just before they set out, her father receives word that Matthew has disappeared. His wife would like them to come anyway. It is disconcerting, to say the least.

Mila's ability to read people comes into play with all those involved in this story of friendship, emotional breakdown, and family love. She gathers clues by looking at her surroundings and is very perceptive about people. She soon recognizes that things are not all as they seem with Matthew and his family. The mystery deepens and soon she finds herself questioning her relationship with her father. Is he telling her the truth?

Meg Rosoff creates a loving family for Mila, and has her readers fully aware of the life that they lead together. That makes the situation with Matthew and his family even more puzzling to her. She is able to see the great unhappiness that envelops them and to try to explain it to her father. While she seems so aware, she also cannot read all of the signs that may seem obvious to a mature reader.

It is a quietly thoughtful book that will appeal to those readers who want to know more about characters than plot, about the true nature of lifelong friendships, and about discovering there is much to learn in this world, even when you think that you know a lot. It's all in the details!

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