Anything I write about this book will not sufficiently convey how awesome it truly is. But I will do my best.
Twitter has been a goldmine of great book suggestions. I’m following some seriously amazing book nerds, and it’s been to my benefit. There’s been quite a buzz about “Mosquitoland” (no pun intended), and I’ve even convinced my book club to read it this month. I tore through this book in just two days. An easy feat when the writing is so gripping.
I was a little intimidated by Mim at first. But after just a few pages, I started to peel away the outer layers of the onion that is Mim Malone. Her deeper layers reveal a narrator who is somewhat unreliable, suffering from a mental illness that she treats with Abilitol. Though Mim is crazy, dark, and prone to focus on despair, she’s also funny, witty, and one of the most sarcastic teenagers you’ll ever meet.
For this review, I’m going to forgo my usual summary and give a little snippet. Then I’m going to include some quotes and passages that represent the truly glorious Mim Malone.
Mim has a coffee can full of money and a bus ticket to Ohio. Her mission is simple. She needs to make it there by Labor Day to see her mom, who she’s recently learned is sick. Without telling her dad or stepmom, Mim hops a bus and sets her sights far from Mosquitoland, the place where her life started to fall apart.
Once on the bus, just about everything bad that could ever happen to a person, happens to Mim. Her bus crashes, people die, she’s nearly assaulted by a pervert in the bathroom, and she crosses paths with folks even crazier than she is. Through it all, Mim defends herself with her sarcasm, one-liners, and cynicism.
Since I can’t capture the beauty and genius of “Mosquitoland”, I’m going to let it speak for itself.
“I have no moral objections to makeup, you understand, it’s just…I know me. And makeup isn’t me. This, in addition to my edgy, hard-nosed, take-no-prisoner attitude, and I think I could have made a pretty decent lesbian. Not to pigeonhole the demographic. I’m sure there are plenty of lesbian softies out there, gobbling up tubs of ice cream and sobbing at the end of early-nineties romcoms.”
“‘One ring to rule them all,’ I whisper, immediately regretting it. Sometimes, things are more embarrassing when you’re alone. I guess when no one’s around to hear your stupidity, you’re forced to bear the brunt of it.”
“Until now, I’d assumed a honky-tonk was a quiet bar full of strange people I would never want to talk to. In reality, they’re obnoxiously loud bars full of strange people I would never want to talk to. I pass one with a band blaring something about a bedonkey-donk, which I can only assume is the Official Honky-Tonk National Anthem. I’m already jealous of myself five minutes ago. Because you can’t un-know a honky-tonk.”
“I am a child. I know nothing about anything. And even less about everything.”
“Mosquitoland” isn’t just another book about a character with mental illness. It’s beyond clever. It’s as unpredictable and crazy as Mim herself. Books like this don’t come around very often, my friends. By the time the heart-wrenching conclusion comes along, you’ll be wishing you could spend more time with Mim and her unusual companions. So grab a copy and enjoy the ride that is “Mosquitoland”.
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publish date: March 3, 2015
You might also enjoy: “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven
My recommended age range: 10th-12th grade (and up!)