Source: Borrowed from library
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Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room--sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook...
So when her father's best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past--slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when she's closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best.
I am a huge fan of Meg Rosoff's novels and was very excited when she released this novel as her latest work. Although I was somewhat hesitant to buy it as from reading the blurb, I was unsure whether this book would be my cup of tea, so it was a happy discovery to see it in my local library.
The characters in this novel were not Rosoff's usual type of characters, they felt very distant from the reader. I never felt the deep connection to the characters that I have felt when reading Rosoff's previous novels. The protagonist, Mila, was a good narrator of the story. She perceived the actions of people in a really clear way and used this talent to help find clues in Matthew's disappearance. These deductions of human actions reminded me of Sherlock Holmes own talent for this. Mila is a very bright and wise girl, who although is only 12, is very much intelligent and competent. I think I disliked how wise she was as I felt it was very unrealistic that a child of twelve could comprehend so much.
The other characters felt very bland for me. I never developed any strong feeling for her father, Gil, or any of the other characters. I did really detest the character of Matthew, although I did think he was one of the few characters that were vivid and intriguing.
The plot of the novel was very up and down, and not in a good way. I felt the beginning of the novel made me very excited as I was there, with Gil and Mila on this manhunt and my expectations were very high. Although this novelty high wore off soon and I felt the novels plot became very dull and predictable for the majority of the novel. The only enjoyable part in the middle of the novel was hearing the story of Mila's friendship with Callie, and how their relationship changed as they grew up. I think the plot pacing picked up in the last 30 pages but honestly, for me, it was too little too late.
The writing style of the novel was they only thing I really did enjoy. I am a big fan of Meg Rosoff usually, and was surprised to have not enjoyed this novel as much as I'd expected to. I love her beautiful flow of writing and great descriptive pieces. One thing I enjoyed about her writing style in this novel, was her use of poetic writing and profound writing style. There were so many quotes in this that made me stop and think.
“I wonder at what point a child becomes a person. Does it happen all at once, or slowly, in stages? Is there an age, a week, a moment, at which all the secrets of the universe are revealed and adulthood descends on a cloud from heaven, altering the brain forever? Will the child-me slink off one day, never to return?”
Overall, I thought this book really was not memorable, and feel the characters never fully connected with the reader. I do recommend Meg Rosoff's other novels as I really enjoyed them. A slightly bland novel, peppered with moments of enjoyment and profound quotes. This novel might be enjoyed by a younger person, maybe 13 + .
Two Star Novel