By David Arnold
Summary: “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.
Source: I purchased a paperback
I picked up Mosquitoland to complete the 2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge category of Book About a Road Trip. The cover and title intrigued me and I’d seen it around enough times to be intrigued. And it was perfect fit because it was all about a road trip. Mosquitoland was awesome. I loved it. I cried, laughed, and loved Mim Malone with all of my heart. It was the perfect blend of quirky, adorable, serious, complex, and moving with a cast of unforgettable characters.
Mim’s life spiraled out of her control when her parents divorced, her mom moved away, her dad met Kathy, and moved them all even further away from Mim’s mom. To top it all off, Mim’s mom was sick and Mim felt like Kathy was keeping her from seeing and communicating with her mom. So Mim hopped on a Greyhound and headed to Ohio in order to finally see her mom. And so began her journey.
I loved Mim’s character. And I felt for her. My parents divorced when I was in my early teens and, while I totally supported that, having both parents remarry and having to move away and deal with new siblings and step parents can be tough. And like Mim, my own perception of the situation ended up being skewed by a few things I didn’t quite understand until later. My childhood memories missed things, which Mim also experienced. I felt like, while I didn’t necessarily have the same experience, I had been where Mim was and felt the things she felt.
It’s no secret that I love when young narrators unravel the complexities of adults. I love when books touch on this because finding out parents are flawed is a major part of growing up and it changes you. Finding out that the people you looked up to and thought had all the answers are human and flawed and not always logical is such a tough thing to go through. Mim was the perfect narrator to take us through the experience and her stubbornness to get on a bus and go see her mom was admirable. I loved that she wasn’t afraid.
Mim’s experiences on the Greyhound bus were insane, but thoroughly entertaining. From strange people to tragic accidents, Mim’s journey was perilous and full of obstacles. Fortunately, she discovered the rarest things on the planet: Good people. And those people helped shape her into a better person.
I loved the book so much. It was everything a road trip coming of age YA novel should be. And even though it’s been done, this book is the one to read over all others. There is adventure, tragedy, romance, horror.. It’s got everything. And Mim is a compelling narrator who drew me in immediately. I highly recommend the book and I’m so glad I finally read it.