David Arnold – Mosquitoland

Author: David Arnold
Release Date: March 3, 2015

“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’m not in the mood for contemporary,” I sigh as I pick this book up.
“No, I gotta head back to the fantasy book I was reading,” I say as I flip another page.
Not in the mood for contemporary my ass; I read this book in one day and reread it at night because I LOVED IT.

This is definitely not your average fluffy contemporary novel. Things get pretty intense here, although not to the point of someone’s death. Mim’s actions and voice is so resounding and just touched me. She is definitely a character I will not forget. Mosquitoland is her adventure, where she travels from Mississippi and her dad and step-mom to see her real mom, who has suddenly stopped contacting her, in Ohio. Mim believes that her mom needs her, and thus journeys across the states to find her.

What made me love this book were the characters. Throughout her odyssey, Mim meets an amalgam of different people. From people with eyes that remind you of a dead televesion set to the soft-grunge-hipster with a camera type of person, the cast in this book is colorful and beautiful. Mim’s voice can be snarky and witty, but at the same time you can see a more caring side of her. All in all, she’s a very realistic teenage girl that I can relate to, whether it’s her dysfunctional family or people constantly psychoanalyzing her.

I really, really enjoyed the romance. It’s definitely not an integral part of the story, but I did read a review where someone was so bored of it that they wanted the characters to have that insta-love thing going on. I’d say no! NO, no no, NO no nono no no no. That totally defeats the purpose of Mim’s journey if she gets distracted by some nice looking eyes and all. Plus, it just wouldn’t fit her character. I’m really sorry that reviewer was bored, but instead of focusing on the plot aspects of “Oh she meets this guy,” or something, I’d recommend readers to focus on Mim discovering herself and coming to terms with the people around her. Because in the end, that’s what the book is really about. Not some romance-driven book in which a girl meets a guy on her trek to finding her mom. Ew, please no. I would’ve been so mad.

So obviously from above, some people may get bored of this book. I can totally see that! But at the same time, for me it was more than just a journey or adventure. If I wanted adventure, I would have stuck to that fantasy book I mentioned in the beginning of my review. It was a compassionate story about a girl figuring out her place in life and with the people around her. I loved it, and my prediction is that many more rereads of this book will take place.


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