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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Book Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Title: Mosquitoland

Author: David Arnold

Publisher: Viking

Publication date: March, 2015

Hardcover: 352 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: This book just seemed so new and interesting, different than what has been released lately, that I knew I needed to get a copy in my hands.


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.


I was so excited to finally start reading Mosquitoland.  I’ve heard such great things about it, and knew it was going to be one of the debuts of the year.  To top it off, I always love reading books that revolve around some type of road trip.  They tend to show a lot of different sides to different people, contain many oddities, and are always a ton of fun.  And this book was no exception–though I would say it was lighter on the light-hearted fun and heavier on the deep self-realizations.

So let’s talk about Mary Iris Malone, or Mim for short.  She’s so real, so heart-breaking, so lovely.  She’s got a real-life affliction that is constantly on her mind, but most of her worries are the shadows of doubt that her father has cast upon her since being a child.  Her mother is the source of light and all things happy in her world.  And her father is the person who took that happiness away.  Mim is the ideal protagonist.  You know that she has her faults, that she probably curses too much, but you can’t help but love her anyway.  You are rooting for her to find a way out of the hole that she has gotten herself into.  And all of the characters that she bumps into on her way are so real–Arlene, Beck, and Walt.  They all hold such a special place in her heart even though she’s just met them.  And she goes out of her way to help them in anyway she possibly can.

The entire story is very poetic, and amazingly well written.  I will not give away any spoilers, but I will say that I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  I kept trying to guess how the story was going to end and what was going to happen to Mim and her friends, but I just couldn’t seem to figure it out.  And then that ending.  Wow.  It worked perfectly.  I would whole-heartedly recommend this book.

There has been some debate about whether this is a book for adults and not teens, middle-grade.  However, I disagree.  I think that this is the type of book that kids crave.  An adventure where they can go and determine the steps themselves.  And there are lessons learned.  Not all people are innocent.  Not everything is as it seems.  Mental illness is a very real affliction that many people suffer from.  And these aren’t things that should be hidden from younger readers because they seem harsh–they are simply reality.