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Mosquitoland Hardcover – March 3, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—Mary Iris Malone, aka Mim, has moved from Cleveland to Mississippi (or Mosquitoland as Mim derisively calls it) with her father and new stepmother, who want her to forget her old life and even her mother. Mim is already struggling, but when she becomes convinced that her stepmother is keeping them apart, the teen steals money and hits the road to Cleveland to save her mother. The journey has bumps along the way—from a bus crash to unsavory characters. There are allies too, including romantic lead Beck and Walt, a homeless young man with Down syndrome. Mim grows on the trip and is forced to confront hard truths. Debut author Arnold's book is filled with some incredible moments of insight. The protagonist is a hard-edged narrator with a distinct voice. There is a lot for teens to admire and even savor-but there are also some deeply problematic elements. There's cultural appropriation: Mim uses lipstick to paint her face to soothe herself, calling it "war paint" and assuring readers that this is fine because she's "part" Cherokee. Walt's characterization veers close to stock, being only an inspiration for Mim. She and Beck have to take Walt to a veterinarian during a medical emergency. They joke that he is "kind of our pet." The revelations about Mim's mother's mental health, and her own mental health, arrive without clear foreshadowing and feel somewhat disjointed—particularly Mim's ultimate decision about her own medication. Recommended for larger collections, this is a readable, original story with strong writing, but the issues cannot be ignored.—Angie Manfredi, Los Alamos County Library System, NM

Review

Accolades for Mosquitoland:

"Arnold proves his worth as a top-notch storyteller on his first literary go-round, which is reminiscent of Ferris Bueller's Day Off if done by John Hughes with Jack Kerouac. . . Mosquitoland stings in all the right places, which is why it will no doubt be many teenagers' new favorite book and win over the crustiest old-timer, too." —USA Today

"David Arnold combines brio with compassion in this captivating first novel, which holds surprises, big and small, right to the end. . . Illuminating" —The Washington Post

"David Arnold's sparkling, startling, laugh-out-loud debut. . . speaks to the sweetness of life, the courage of love and the blinkers that adolescents may need to remove to see what is truly around them." —Wall Street Journal

"It's a breath of fresh air when a novel like David Arnold's Mosquitoland bucks the usual classifications and stands defiantly alone. . . like any odyssey worth embarking on, what the heroine—and the reader—finds along the way is far more interesting than we ever could have expected.” —Entertainment Weekly

"Memorable" —People

"One of the most talked about books of the year" —Teen Vogue

"In Mosquitoland, David Arnold has created one of the most unique narrative voices to show up in the world of young adult fiction. I don't remember life before Mim, and I don't want to. Mosquitoland is equal parts sharp, sad, and surreal.  This book is genius, war paint and all."
John Corey Whaley, Printz-winning author of Where Things Come Back

“David Arnold’s writing is both heartfelt and hilarious. You will fall in love with Mim, even as her grand journey will keep you guessing. Mosquitoland reminds us that sometimes imperfect is just perfect.”
Ruta Sepetys, New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Gray

“Arnold pens a stunning debut, showcasing a cast of dynamic characters. . . Mesmerizing.” —Kirkus, starred review

“Wholly enjoyable. . . There is no shortage of humor in Mim’s musings, interspersed with tender scenes and a few heart-pounding surprises. Mim’s triumphant evolution is well worth the journey.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Arnold boldly tackles mental illness and despair, and sexual assault and sexual identity, without ever once losing the bigheartedness of the story. . . In the words of one of Mim's Greyhound seatmates, Mosquitoland has pizazz—lots and lots of it." —Booklist, starred review

"Arnold’s characters are captivating and believable. . . This is a very engaging and compelling story about individuals who succeed or fail to manage life’s challenges. An action-packed thriller with a touch of humor and romance." —School Library Connection, starred review

"Arnold skillfully sets up doubts in readers' minds about how reliable Mim's impressions are, even as her razor-sharp humor and intelligence make us want to believe her. David Arnold is a write to watch." —Shelf Awareness, starred review

“A YA road trip novel that takes you across the country, with a protagonist on her way to visit her hospitalized mother. And can we talk about that gorgeous cover for a second? My goodness. Get me a poster, right now.” —The Huffington Post

"A wacky road trip. . . [Mim's] voice is so singular and full of heart" —The Horn Book

"A strong emphasis on personal alienation and the saving grace of community permeates this voice-driven novel, and the whip-smart narration is seductive and powerful." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"A classic road trip narrative. . . written with tenderness" —National Post (Canada)

“First-time novelist David Arnold has uncannily captured the voice of a 16-year-old girl with beauty and style in Mosquitoland. . . Arnold’s prose is delicious as he peels back each of Mim’s layers on her long ride.” —BookPage

“You know those books that, despite being realistic contemporary, just transport you into another world entirely? That’s exactly the experience of reading Arnold’s debut. . . This book makes me wish I were a school librarian, just so I could buy ten copies for my collection.” —Barnes & Noble Teen Blog

“Arnold has already been chosen with nine other debut novelists for the ABA Indies New Voices list, and that’s not an honor given lightly, so it’s definitely a book to keep your eye on.” —Bustle

- Kids' Indie Next List "Top Ten" Pick (Spring 2015)
- ABA Indies Introduce Debut Authors and New Voices title
- A Junior Library Guild selection
- 2015 Great Lakes Great Reads award winner
- A Publishers Weekly Spring 2015 Flying Start
Booklist Editors’ Choice 2015
- A Booklist Top 10 First Novel for Youth: 2015
- A Kirkus Unforgettable Debut 2015
- An Amazon Best Book of the Year 2015
- An NPR Book Concierge Best of 2015
- A BookPage Best Teen Book of 2015
- A Bustle Best YA Book of 2015
- A Paste Magazine Best YA Book of 2015
- A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of 2015
- A Hudson Booksellers Best Book for Young Readers 2015
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: HL750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (March 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 045147077X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451470775
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A good road book is 2% starting point, 3% destination, and 95% road. In MOSQUITOLAND, David Arnold pretty much sticks to these numbers. Good thing. As Bilbo Baggins would be happy to tell you, it's all in the journey (you were expecting "wrist"?). And what a journey! This book is 342 pages, yet I downed it in two days. Maybe that's no big deal, but when you consider this is more a character book than a plot book, it becomes one.

So, the protagonist. She's 16-year-old Mary Iris Malone, a.k.a. Mim, and she's different. Unique. Precocious. True, naysayers might rightfully complain, "No 16-year-old girl talks and thinks like this -- like her 40-something-year-old author, I mean," but you need to get over that ipso fasto (Latin for "in a mosquito moment") or else. OK. Done. And then there are some other bits that stretch the old suspension bridge of disbelief a bit. For instance, when Mim runs away in search of real mom (leaving behind Dad and unreal stepmom), she's considered a missing child -- one who will eventually see fliers of herself. But wait. She's also carrying her cellphone. Do the letters G, P, and S mean nothing these days?

All that said, it's hard to put the book down (literally or figuratively). Mim is funny, witty, full of allusions, quirky as all get-out, and, thanks be, prone to running into all sorts of characters (savory and un-) on the road from Mississippi to Cleveland. Yes, these characters give her quirkiness a run for its money, but what do you expect for a Greyhound full of strange strangers? By the final 3%, Arnold has offered up a little of everything -- happy, sad, pathos, bathos, love interest, scary moment, mishaps, perhaps, etc. Not bad for a day's work, in other words, and one of the better YAs I've read in the past few years. Is that a recommendation? Do the letters Y, E, and S mean nothing these days?
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a parent of three teenagers I simply cannot recommend this book to the audience to which it is being marketed. Viking has categorized this novel as a children’s book for ages 12 and up.
Mr. Arnold has written a story about 16 year old Mim, who upon hearing that her mother is very ill decides to run away from her dad and stepmom and embark on a journey from Jackson, Mississippi, to Cleveland, Ohio to see her mom.
The author does a fantastic job of weaving past and present narratives together. The phrasing in this book is often breathtakingly beautiful. Mim’s mental health is in question. Her dad and most recent psychiatrist believe she is mentally ill, in fact she is prescribed and takes Abilify. Her mom and Mim both question this diagnosis. When she runs away, Mim stops taking her prescription, so the reader is left wondering till the very end whether what is happening is real or not. Arnold masters the feat of maintaining just the right amount of tension between these two possible outcomes.
So given that this is a well written book, why my three starts instead of five?
As adult, I am not tempted to follow Mim’s footsteps, but a teenager might find her story inspiring and try to follow suit.
So here are my concerns as parent:
1. Shortly after leaving Mim decides to go cold turkey on her medication. Yes, there is the question whether Mim has even been properly prescribed this medication, but if a young reader is taking an anti-psychotic drug the last thing I would want a book to encourage is for a young person to decide on their own to stop taking it, as withdrawal symptoms can be very severe. Symptoms include depression, anxiety and hallucinations.
2.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I’m so in love this book! Have you ever just sat and hugged a book after you’ve finished the last page? I know, I know- there are always books that you love, but I’m talking about books that you just love beyond reason. The books that you won’t let anyone touch. This is one of those books for me. I haven’t had a moment like this with a book since I read Eleanor & Park. I’ve loved many, but not like this.

From the very first page I was hooked.

I AM MARY Iris Malone, and I am not okay.

This book is equally parts funny and touching. I find that there has been an increase in YA literature that evolves around mental illness, social issues and the like. It’s so freaking refreshing! And the way that the author delivered this story, let’s just say that I felt compelled to keep at it because I had to know how this all played out.

Long story short- Mim Malone finds out that her mother, back in Ohio, is sick. She finds this out when she eaves drops on a parent/principle conference (In which she was supposed to have been there but bails). Firstly, she didn’t hear the rest of the conversation between the principle, her father and step-mother. She just ran out of the school and to home, packed a bag, stole over $800 dollars from her step-mom’s stash, and jumped on a Greyhound. All to save her mother.

It is during this trip that Mim meets some interesting company, and everything starts to unravel. What the heck? I was so caught up in the revelations in this book. I was seriously going bananas, because when I thought that something was one thing- turns out that it wasn’t. This book is crazy crazy crazy. I swear that you will lose your mind by the end of it. But, don’t worry, it’s the good kind of crazy.

I don’t want to spoil this book.
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