Review | Mosquitoland


2016 Birdie Book Award Winner



About the Book: “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.

YA Contemporary
Viking Children’s | March 3, 2015
amazon2 bn2

“I have limited experience, but I know this: moments of connection with another human being are patently rare. But rarer still are those who can recognize such a connection when they see one.”

Let’s be honest, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have heard of Mosquitoland if it hadn’t been for all the hype surrounding Kids of Appetite.  I’m not trying to minimize the impact of this one, just saying how I think (outside the blogging world) it’s a relatively lesser known novel.  I’d never heard of it before joining WordPress and starting Birdie Bookworm.  (To be fair, I hadn’t heard of Kids of Appetite either.)  Regardless, the discovery of Mosquitoland is in the plus column for reasons why I’m glad I’m blogging.

First, and most important, I really loved Mim.  Only time will tell, but I think the quirkiness of her character will stay with me long after I’ve reshelved this book.  She was a really refreshing character, one that said exactly what she was thinking.  One who wasn’t afraid of telling a doctor when she thought he was a quack.  Or letting the creepy guy know when she’s giving him all the social ques that scream ‘I don’t want to talk to you’.  She is only 16 so there was a lot of self-doubt happening, but what I read was a young woman who knew exactly who she was and made no apology for it.  I think she was kind.  She was brave.  I’ve said it before, but in a literary world where girls can be written as carbon copies of each other Mim stood above the rest in her utter uniqueness.

I also loved the journey she was on.  I loved the characters she met, even the brief ones like Arlene.  I really loved Mim’s protectiveness for Walt.  (Because I agree with Mim, Walt was so wonderful.)  I know others may not agree, but I even loved the relationship that slowly developed between Mim and Beck.  I thought it was perfect, the way it was set up.  The evolution of feelings that, even at the end, still only felt like the beginning.  With four years between them, it was exactly as it should have been.  It left the readers with the idea of possibility, but the reality of time.  Beck was a gentleman, and he was kind.  (He makes me want that sequel, because in my heart of hearts I’m a romantic first.)

Which brings us to the end.  I feel like there’s probably some people who are a little miffed at the way the story seemed to taper off.  Will Mim be at the rendezvouski in a year?  If she goes will she be the only one there?  What happens with Mim and her family?

I actually loved it.  It didn’t feel as abrupt as other books I’ve loved -ahem, Eleanor & Park.  It gave just enough to the reader, pointing us in the direction of a happy ending without actually spelling out exactly how everything unfolded.  I know I mentioned a sequel, but I don’t think there will be one.  And it’s okay.  I’ve created the sequel in my head, and it’s absolutely perfect.  My own imagination is bringing it home, and I think that’s what David Arnold wanted.

While I did only rate Mosquitoland 4 feathers, there wasn’t a specific thing I can point at to explain the lack of the last feather.  I think it was an overall feeling when I closed the book.  Did I love this book?  Obviously I did.

If you want to get really technical, it’s 4 1/2 feathers, but my sister didn’t draw those.  Blame her.

(Random thought: For some strange reason reading the Q&A with David Arnold at the back of the book made me cry.  I have no idea why.)

“And I’m sick of things the way they are, my many oddities, my limited depth perception, as if it’s not bad enough I only see half the world, but it always seems to be the wrong half.”


About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

10 Responses

  1. Nicole.Ilene

    So glad to read a review of this book! I bought on a whim at a used bookstore and haven’t had the chance to pick it up yet. Great review! 🙂


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