Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 3rd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Action & Adventure, Young Adult
"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange."
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane. Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.
I was in the mood for something dark and spooky but upon searching Amazon for something to read I accidentally stumbled across Mosquitoland by David Arnold. It seemed interesting enough: girl goes on a cross country trip to go back home to her mother in Ohio. Road trip books tend to be hit or miss for me. Either they have an actual sense of road tripping where you stop at random places and meet unique new people or it doesn’t. I’m happy to report that Mosquitoland does in fact have the two simple things I request of this type of book.
After hearing some breaking news from her father and stepmother in Mississippi, along with a fateful day at school, Mim Malone decides to pack up her bags and go back to her real home in Ohio. With money in her pockets, a couple of clothes, and a journal she is set. This story alternates between chapters of Mim’s great Greyhound adventure to her journal entries in the form of letters. She comes across a slew of interesting characters, some better than others, who advance her in her journey and make her take some detours along the way.
I thought Mim had an interesting personality with a very quirky sense of humor. She was sarcastic, smart, and a typical teenager who makes dumb mistakes all wrapped up into one package. I never once found her as the narrator to be boring and I enjoyed listening to her perspective on things. One of my favorite aspects of the book was her journal entries/letters. They showed the vulnerable side to this rebellious girl and gradually, as she wrote more, showed the reader how she came about to be the person she is and the decisions she makes.
The only thing that sort of bothered me about Mosquitoland is Mim’s father. In flashbacks he continuously tried to diagnose Mim with some sort of psychosis that I just never understood. He takes her to get prescribed on daily medication that “will help.” Mim does it diligently which frustrated me but then decides somewhere along her journey to stop taking it. Mim on medication and Mim off medication didn’t seem any different to me. There’s a point where she claims to feel more herself off it but I couldn’t make the distinction. Maybe I just missed it and was too focused on figuring out where Mim was going to end up next?
Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had the road trip, mishaps along the planned path, detours, fun and not so fun small towns and local hangouts, a cast of widely different characters, and a good ending. Arnold wrapped up the story in a way that made your heart break for a moment only for it to be mended back together with a sense of hope. I’d recommend giving Mosquitoland by David Arnold a shot!