A sure sign of a great book is the feeling of emptiness that comes over you when it ends. This is how I felt turning the final page of David Arnold’s debut novel, Mosquitoland. I was turned on to this novel after reading a book review that made the claim that this story would be the next big thing in young adult literature. I’m sure that a wide range of audiences will enjoy this book, but it will also go right over the heads of many-a young person looking for more predictable teen drama.
Mosquitoland centers on a 16-year-old sass-a-frass named Mim. Mim is the type of girl that meets the world head on. She says exactly what is on her mind and thinks she can size a person up just by knowing their name. Mim, of course, decides to run away from home because her mom is living in Cleveland and has come down with a mysterious illness that Mim overhears her dad and stepmom talking about.
Without a second thought, Mim hops on board a dirty Greyhound bus and meets a variety of interesting characters along the way. The book review that I read compared Mim’s journey to the cult-classic, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but I completely disagree. Mim’s journey is one of self-discovery that is at once both depressing and inspiring. I was also impressed by the fact that the plot had some surprises in store for me because I am rarely caught off guard by a young adult novel.
I’ll admit, there were times that I was frustrated with Mim as a character, but you couldn’t help but respect her straightforward observations about life. Wordsmiths will also be treated to several lyrical nuggets that highlight Arnold’s true gift with language.
Publisher: Viking Books
Sara's Rating: 4 stars