25 May 2015
Arnold, David. Mosquitoland. Viking BYR, 2015.
Mim lives with her father and stepmother in Mississippi, but when she hears her mother has been hospitalized, she steals money and sneaks away on a Greyhound bus so she can be with her mother. The bus crashes, she's nearly raped, and many other crazy mishaps happen along the way. This is definitely a book that is more about the journey than the destination.
Confession: I really didn't like this book. I didn't hate it, and I have hated some books, but I did NOT like this one. Mim is not a likable character, and I find it disturbing when I read a book and can't sympathize with or identify with the main character at all. I find it hard to believe that Mim was able to steal all of that money and run off with no one looking for her. I find it equally hard to believe that the Greyhound bus would crash and everyone would get a free hotel room and then GET ON ANOTHER BUS WITH THE SAME DRIVER THE VERY NEXT DAY. I don't like the way this book treats the beliefs and rituals of Native peoples. I don't like the way this book treats a character with Down syndrome. It was very difficult to be inside Mim's head on this very unbelievable journey.
It's pretty obvious by now that mental illnesses are the next "big thing" in young adult literature, but I think there are better books out there. Read if you must, especially if you believe all the 5-star reviews this book has gotten, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: Mim struggles with a mental illness and is medicated for much of this book. She discusses her medication (which has a very similar name to a medication currently on the market IRL) and takes a very anti-meds stance throughout the book. Mim is nearly raped by a creepy man on the bus; this event happens suddenly enough that rape survivors should take gentle care.
Overall Rating: 1.5 / 5 stars - some of the writing is pretty, even if it is pretty unbelievable
Read-Alikes: Challenger Deep, Cameron and the Girls, All the Bright Places, Every Last Word