MOSQUITOLAND by David Arnold
Mim Malone is not okay. 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.
What can I say…I love this story. A full-on capital L kind of love.
Mary Iris Malone (Mim) is a firecracker of a gal, if there ever was one.
After her parents’ divorce, Mim’s father (and his new wife, Kathy) take her away from the only home she’s ever known in Ohio, relocating to Jackson, Mississippi, in which Mim dubs Mosquitoland.
At the very outset of the young-adult novel, Mary Iris Malone is sixteen years-old and, after being called to her principal’s office, she overhears her father and stepmother’s conversation, learning that her mother is ill. This is the catalyst that spins Mim Malone on her heels, darting out of her principal’s office, and onward toward her journey—a northbound Greyhound bus headed back to her real home in Cleveland, Ohio.
Mim chronicles her journey throughout the book and they are chock full of treasures, life truths (if you will) like this one:
Every great character, Iz, be it on the page or screen, is multidimensional. The good guys aren’t all good, the bad guys aren’t all bad, and any character wholly one or the other shouldn’t exist at all. Remember this when I describe the antics that follow, for though I am not a villain, I am not immune to villainy.
The cast of characters that become Mim’s co-stars during her travels are quirky, lovable, criminal, perverted, handsome, grotesquely overweight, knightly…and the list goes on, providing a kaleidoscopic backdrop for this wildly entertaining story.
Author David Arnold, through the darling Mim Malone, spoke directly to my teenage, angst-ridden, rebellious self in the most beautiful of ways. And I found myself not once, not one single time, ever rolling my eyes at young Mim, thinking of how much she still has to learn. No. I rooted for her every step of the way. And hopefully you will, too, should you decide to hop on Mim’s northbound Greyhound bus headed out of Mosquitoland and straight for Cleveland, Ohio.
Have you read Mosquitoland? We’d love to hear what you think — please share in the comments below. Thanks!