Author: David Arnold
Overall Rating: 5 flames
“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.
Have you ever picked up a book and from the very first few pages you just know you’re going to love it, but in the back of your mind you think, “Oh please, oh please don’t disappoint me.”?
Mosquitoland most certainly did not disappoint me. I loved every minute that I spent reading this book. It made me laugh, cry, and cringe in disgust. I felt so many things throughout Mim’s journey that it was difficult for me to put the book down.
Some events occur that make you think, “Really? That would never happen.” But that’s part of the magic of this book – trying to figure out what’s really real and what could be part of Mim’s imagination. She wasn’t the most reliable narrator and I loved that.
This book has received some mixed reviews – some people seemed to find Mim’s voice difficult to connect with and people are criticizing Arnold for “trying to be John Green”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me some John Green, but comparing David Arnold to him just because he’s a male author who wrote a contemporary novel starring a witty teen female protagonist is not very fair, IMO. Can no one else write about witty teenagers because John does? (I say this as a long-time Vlogbrothers/Green fan as I sip coffee out of my Pizza John coffee mug I got from Pizzamas a few years ago if you doubt my John Green fan-ness.)
And even if he were trying to compare himself to Mr. Green (which I don’t believe he was) – who cares? I thought this book was fabulous and the world needs more fabulous books regardless of who writes them. I know I will be adding this one to my “must read again someday” list and will anxiously await anything else Arnold writes in the future.
So, while I was completely smitten with this book and would certainly recommend it, just know that it seems to be pretty polarizing. This bums me out because usually when I rate a book 5 stars I want to go screaming about it from the rooftops to everyone, but with Mosquitoland I may be a bit more selective with the readers I suggest it to.
Have you read this book? Do you fall on the love it or hate it spectrum?