I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Published by Penguin on March 3, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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.
Many of my blogging colleagues tend to avoid books that are seen as “hyped”. Indeed, there has been a lot of talk about Mosquitoland, and having been burned by more than one hyped book, I can understand their reluctance. I am here to tell you that Mosquitoland was pretty much everything that I was hoping it would be. Mim’s desperation to find her mom and then getting on a bus to Ohio to find her is only the beginning of the wonderful craziness in this book. Along the way, we get to know her through her journal, and her dry sense of humor paired with some tough introspection made me love her immediately. The first part of the book is the solo part of her journey. She meets people who want to help and people who only want to replace good with evil. There is one scene in particular that involves an attempted assault that might be triggering for some readers. Her memories of her mother, her own struggles with mental illness, and the very strong feeling that she didn’t belong in Mississippi all seemed to serve as fuel for her race to see her mom.
The best part about a road trip book is the strange assortment of people that the main character always collects. I think Mim’s own quest sort of attracted people to her, people who were on their own quests. In this case, it was a homeless teen with Down’s Syndrome and a college student trying to right an old wrong. When they finally connected as a cohesive group, the book really hit its stride. Juxtaposed against this wacky road trip and strange people along the way, was Mim’s inner voice (via her journal) that told the story of someone who was in a lot of pain. So, even though Mosquitoland provided me with a lot of laugh out loud moments, it was also told in such an honest voice that there was a little ache in my heart the whole time I was reading it. I don’t want to go on and on, although I could, because I really think you should just read it for yourself. However, I do want to say that the ending was absolutely wonderful. So often with books about journeys the endings tend to fizzle out or get the shaft, and although the ending was petty short, I loved it. It gave closure while leaving doors open for Mim, and in the end I just want to know that, in her fictional world, she found her way back to that game.