Picture Me Gone Book Poster Image

Picture Me Gone



Missing-man mystery best for sophisticated teen readers.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Picture Me Gone will encourage readers to think critically as they -- like observant Mila -- try to put together the pieces of the mysterious disappearance of her father's best friend. Readers will learn something about what it's like to be a translator like Mila's dad. They also may enjoy discussing some of the questions in our Explore, Discuss, Enjoy section.

Positive messages

There's an overall message running through Picture Me Gone about loving the family and friends in your life even when they're going through difficult times and making choices you don't support.

Positive role models

Mila's an observant person who tries to protect those she cares about. Her family -- which includes her mother, a professional musician, and her father, a translator -- is described as happy and healthy. Even when Mila is sad to be apart from her mother, she knows, "We are three. Even when we are just two, we are three."


A teen boy dies in a car accident, and later his father considers suicide.


There's a mention of a commercial featuring a topless woman; Mila realizes that an adult had an affair resulting in a baby; Mila suspects a man's wife is involved with another man.


Some words like "bitch" and "damn," and one instance of "f--k."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Mila wonders if her father's friend is an alcoholic and notices that he's drinking most of the time. Her father also drinks but responsibly. A waitress Mila suspects is pregnant smokes a cigarette.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Picture Me Gone features some mature material, including the death of a young teen in a car accident, a man with a secret family, a bisexual woman with a girlfriend, and a man who's contemplating suicide. Some adult characters drink, smoke, swear, and talk about very adult topics, even when the main character, 12-year-old Mila, or another child is around. Still, the message running through the book is about loving the family and friends in your life, including when they're going through difficult times and making choices you don't support. Mila's an observant person who tries to protect those she cares about. Her family, which includes her professional musician mother and translator father, is described as happy and healthy: When Mila's sad to be apart from her mother, she knows, "We are three. Even when we are just two, we are three."

Kids say

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What's the story?

The day before Mila and her father are supposed to leave London to visit America, her father's lifelong best friend -- whom they're going to see -- goes missing. They travel together anyway, and observant Mila begins to put together clues, like how his unhappy wife seems to be living a separate life, even with a new baby. She discovers an even bigger secret when they drive up to the friend's cabin in snowy upstate New York. Even as Mila puts together the answers to one mystery, she makes other, big discoveries about what it means to be a friend, to be a family, and to grow up.

Is it any good?


The heart of the plot of PICTURE ME GONE is pretty adult; in fact, the book's set more in the the world of adults than that of children. Even so, there are so many rich and wonderful details here that make it a good choice for sophisticated teens. For example, Mila's dad is a translator who says that, to do his job, "It is not necessary to sympathize with the writer, to agree with what he's written...it is necessary to walk alongside and stay in step." This parallels his ability to stand by his friend, even when he doesn't understand his hurtful actions.

The mystery around the missing man's story will keep readers engaged, but it's really Mila, her neat family, and the keen observations about people and life gleaned by the girl who's "good at solving puzzles" that make up the most memorable pieces.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it means to be a friend. Do you have to understand or agree with all your friend's choices? What would you do if your friend had a terrible secret?

  • Mila is very critical of America's love of hunting -- and of the big meals that she and her father are served at diners along the way. What do you think about her observation that there is "darkness" everywhere she looks?

  • Picture Me Gone deals with some pretty adult material including adultery, a dead child, and a suicidal adult. What age would you recommend for this book? Or do you agree with Mila that "[a]ge is not always the best measure of competence"?

Book details

Author:Meg Rosoff
Genre:Family Life
Topics:Friendship, Great girl role models
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date:October 3, 2013
Number of pages:256
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Parent Written byTheLiberryGuy October 23, 2013

An enjoyable read.

I read this book for a Young Adult Literature class and I thought it was easy to read, the message was that kids do try to understand their environment even when they do not have a broad worldview. I would recommend it to any child who wants to read this book. It is well written, nonjudgmental, and has elements that DO affect children in real life, but it does not bring out the angst in any of the situations it touches upon.
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 9, 14, 16, and 16 year old Written byadvisor.com March 29, 2014

Amazing book!

Unfortunately my children have now 'grown out of the bedtime story phase!'and now practically live in their iPhones. However, in the rare occasion my children are looking for a book, I knew Meg Rosoff was the way to go! My 17 year old son loved this book, as did my 15 year old, Riley. Being the mature teenagers that they are, they recommended that Zack, my youngest (ten years of age) did not read it. This was because it featured the words, fuck, shit, bloody and piss. It also featured heavily on the tragic death of a twelve year old in a car collision. Also, it features a young girl smoking, and also references sex a few times. Also, it referenced drinking alcohol and committing suicide. Overall, this book is amazing for mature twelve/thirteen year olds +. Thanks to you and the incredible author Meg Rosoff.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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