Tuesday, March 24, 2015

YA Pick: Mosquitoland

by David Arnold
342 pages
ISBN: 9780451470775


Kids' Indie Next List "Top Ten" Pick (Spring 2015)

ABA Indies Introduce Debut Authors and New Voices title

A Junior Library Guild selection

"In Mosquitoland, David Arnold has created one of the most unique narrative voices to show up in the world of young adult fiction. I don't remember life before Mim, and I don't want to. Mosquitoland is equal parts sharp, sad, and surreal.  This book is genius, war paint and all."

—John Corey Whaley, National Book Award Finalist and Printz-winning author of Where Things Come Back and Noggin

“David Arnold’s writing is both heartfelt and hilarious. You will fall in love with Mim, even as her grand journey will keep you guessing. Mosquitoland reminds us that sometimes imperfect is just perfect.”

—Ruta Sepetys, New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Gray

"Wholly enjoyable... There is no shortage of humor in Mim’s musings, interspersed with tender scenes and a few heart-pounding surprises. Mim’s triumphant evolution is well worth the journey. "
-- Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

"Arnold pens a stunning debut, showcasing a cast of dynamic characters... Mesmerizing." -- Kirkus, STARRED review

"Arnold boldly tackles mental illness and despair, and sexual assault and sexual identity, without ever once losing the bigheartedness of the story. . . In the words of one of Mim's Greyhound seatmates, Mosquitoland has pizzazz--lots and lots of it." -- Booklist, STARRED review

It's a breath of fresh air when a novel like David Arnold's Mosquitoland bucks the usual classifications and stands defiantly alone. . . like any odyssey worth embarking on, what the heroine—and the reader—finds along the way is far more interesting than we ever could have expected.” —Entertainment Weekly (full review)

“A YA road trip novel that takes you across the country, with a protagonist on her way to visit her hospitalized mother. And can we talk about that gorgeous cover for a second? My goodness. Get me a poster, right now.” —The Huffington Post

“A wacky road trip... [Mim's] voice is so singular and full of heart.” —The Horn Book

“This book makes me wish I were a school librarian, just so I could buy ten copies for my collection.” —Barnes & Noble Teen Blog

My Review:

Mosquitoland is that one road trip book that will change your thinking! Mim Malone is at a crossroads in every facet of her life. Uprooted from her mother, taken to live in rural Mississippi, aka, Mosquitoland, Mim hates living with her father and her newly acquired and newly pregnant step-mother. Something bad has happened to her mother in Ohio. The adults won't tell Mim what is going on, but Mim is going to find out. Having made the decision to split Mosquitoland, Mim "steals" money from her stepmother's hidden coffee can cache and buys a bus ticket.

Everything that can go wrong does. As the story unravels, so does Mim, literally. Fighting off mental illness is no joke, but Mim doesn't want to take any more drugs for her "condition." Her parents have tried to get her help in the past. She liked her first doctor but doesn't trust the next one. He just wants to medicate the problem, not cure it. The beauty of this story is in its telling. Mim is one unforgettable character; her voice is strong and true, albeit sometimes off kilter and sometimes wonderfully warped.

The passengers of the bus are laughable. Mim is at her poetic best when describing her traveling counterparts. Several near death experiences, rotten con men, a scary rapist, a maybe, someday hero, a special homeless kid with a knack for the Rubik's cube  and a meeting with her mother will cause Mim to come to terms with her own illness. Readers will root for Mim, a not-so-strong, not-so-brainiac, not-so-wonderful, not-so-normal Everygirl. Mim may not be the normal heroine, but she's got moxie and spunk! There should be more Mims in YA fiction. David Arnold, you are a character genius!

You will love this book for its every quirky turn.

Highly, highly recommended grade 9-up. Mature content, language, rape, but laughter, lots of laughter.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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