By: Larissa | February 26, 2015 | (40) Comments

Review: Mosquitoland by David ArnoldMosquitoland by David Arnold
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Pages: 336
Source: Received in exchange for review
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"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."

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

This is a  novel that came as a surprise to me, I didn’t except to love it as much as I did. It’s been a couple months and it’s inarguable that this achingly true to life tale has has wormed its way deep, deep, deeeeep into my heart. Even now, I can still remember details about the novel and recall that truly captivating pleasure I gained while reading Mosquitoland.

Mosquitoland: the thorn in my side, the rock in my shoe, the poison in my wine.

The clear strength and holy grail in this novel presents itself in its narrator: Mim Malone. Her voice truly breathed life into Mosquitoland and her observant nature was the one of the most organic and true I’ve ever read. She has sardonic humor down to a tee and a honesty so clear that it almost emotionally heartbreaking.  Despite her tone being humorous there’s an undercurrent of rawness that makes Mosquitoland an feeling inducing read. This really comes through Mim’s letters in the story, which act to connect present events to the past in a gorgeous way.

Of course Mim’s  not perfect, not in the slightest. There’s clear flaws in her character and thoughts and in the beginning I would say she was acting out of pure emotion. However, there’s a sense of logic in even her most emotional moments that comes through her honesty. It’s like an a recognition and acceptance that is repeated throughout the course of the entire novel, even at the end of the story. Sure, Mim is better than she was at the start but she still has a long way to go.

My name is Mim Malone and I am not okay.

Mosquitoland takes Mim on this wild journey, one that stereo-typically would be thought as one of self-discovery is one that is just so much more. It becomes a story that, at its core, we can all intrinsically relate to on a sub-conscious level, even if we most definitely haven’t experiences and struggled with what Mim does. It is a journey that you will certainly become invested in, and one I definitely did. The juxtaposition of reality and idealization, pain and strength, hope and sorrow were all beautifully explored throughout via rich and detailed scenes and observations.

As you follow Mim on this journey you get introduced to a cast of characters who I can’t describe in any other way than ‘kaleidoscopic’. Each of these characters serve a purpose, not only to further Mim’s personal character development but they also stand on their own two feet. They are not simply blank cutouts, but feel just as real and honest in Mim. They will certainly evoke emotions just like Mim- whether sorrow, hope, laughter or complete fury. You’ll be flipping pages to see how they fit into the puzzle of the story and their own personal journey’s, even if not directly shown or cut short. Arlene, a character we only see for a very short period of time, arguably had the biggest impact on me. Perhaps due to the fact she was one of the initial influences on Mim and her story. Or maybe it was Arnold’s vivid characterization that managed to make her totally come to life for me.

Of course I really connected to Walt and Beck too. It was their unconventional love story with Mim and each other that really spoke to me. I know that a lot of you typically would think I’m thinking an romantic sort of love (there’s only a small smidgen of that in this one, more so hinted and not really explored yet left open in the most beautiful of ways that was soul aching) as all YA stories tend to include that. However, I’m thinking more of intense emotional understanding and support these characters gave to each other as they opened up to one another. They shared whatever imperfect pieces of themselves they could throughout their interactions and experiences. It’s inarguable that it does take some sort of intrinsic love for this to occur.

I cried twice during this story. It was two very different moments. One moment was one where you could visibly see that  Mim splitting apart at the seams, a scene so evocative in hopelessness and pain that I couldn’t see straight. The other moment I cried at was the ending. It’s an ending that fits this novel to a tee, imperfect and definitely emotionally impactful. It left me staring at the last page for quite some time, not quite understanding right away how much the story resonated and effected me. I would say the ending is unconventional in the best of ways.

I would definitely recommend this story. It impacted me emotionally and was a pleasure to read Mim’s voice, one which I would consider to be quite unique in the genre of YA. The journey was equal parts vivid satisfaction followed by intense pain. It was an emotional roller-coaster of sorts, bonded together with an strong and memorable supporting cast that I won’t soon forget.

~Thank you Penguin Canada for the review copy~

4.5 Stars
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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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40 Responses to Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

  1. This sounds amazing! 😀 Really want to read it now.
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…Bookish Babble: 5 Things Only Booknerds UnderstandMy Profile

  2. JennRenee says:

    i am so so so excited for this book. I actually flailed a bit when I saw you posted a review. I wanted to know what others thought. I have it waiting for me on my pre orders for audible. so super excited and I am so happy to see my high hopes of this novel are not misplaced.
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    • Larissa says:

      AHHHHH. Haha well I think my feelings (undying love) for this one is pretty clear [; I hope you enjoy this one just as much as I did, or perhaps even more

  3. Hiii!
    I read the first.. five chapters I think, thanks to Netgalley, and I loved them sooo much! I cannot wait to have the book in my hands! 😀
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  4. Lily says:

    I’ve actually had my eye on this one for a while! I know it’s going to break my heart in the best way possible! *smiles* Can it be march 3rd already?
    Lily recently posted…Book Talk: Station ElevenMy Profile

  5. Mosquitoland sounds like such a wonderful and impactful book. I love books that resonate me and show me both the bright side and the harsh side of human nature. I also love books that feature a large cast of characters that are all fully developed, because that’s what life is like. You meet so many people, and no one is actually a cardboard cut-out. This one’s definitely going on my to-read list.
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    • Larissa says:

      It is definitely both of the things you mentioned. It certainly delves deep into what makes us human and takes a look at our struggles, and the different ways people deal with them.I agree! I feel as if everybody we meet in our lives impact us in some sort of circumstance. I hope you read and love this one Ana <33

  6. Wow, this sounds just fantastic. I’m so glad it resonated so much with you, and the narrator sounds wonderful.
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    • Larissa says:

      It really was quite brilliantly done. And yes, the narrator is what really separates this story from all of the other sort of tearjerkers I’ve read. It brings Mosquitoland to a whole new level.

  7. I remember seeing this one around before on Goodreads but I never was really interested in it so I’m so glad that I came across your review! I do love tear jerkers so I’m really curious about this one and it seems like such a beautiful novel!

    Excellent review, Larissa 🙂

    • Larissa says:

      READ IT! Haha c: It’s actually so much more than a tear jerker, you’ll see what I mean when I read it. It’s completely gorgeous honestly. I hope you give this one a chance soon!

      Thanks girl (:

  8. ooh, emotional? Unconventional love story? SAY NO MORE. XD I have to admit, I wasn’t ever really dragged in by the book’s title because I hate freakish little mosquitos. They are like the bane of life. Gah. >.> BUT! I shall put aside my scratching discomfort and see if I can find this book. x)
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    • Larissa says:

      yessss [; Haha.

      LOL not gonna lie, I totally was on your boat when I received this one and tossed it to the side for awhile. BUT OH MY GOD GIRL MY EXPECTATIONS WERE SO WRONG. It has very little to do with mosquitoes and everything to do with amazing.

      get it girllll

  9. Ahhh, I need this book! I was going to wait, maybe not pre order it, try to resist. Nope, guess that isn’t happening! This sounds like everything I NEED in a book: feels, unique characters, a likable romance… yep, ordering this! Great review 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      Hahaha! I feel you, sometimes the urge to get a book can definitely be too much. Mosquitoland truly is a hidden gem though, and I hope you find it just as amazing as I do.

      Thanks Shannon <33

  10. Oooh… This sounds like a great read, Larissa! I usually go for light, funny reads but once in a while I enjoy emotional, self-discovery novels like this. Right now, I’m reading one and I’m liking it. So I’ll probably check this out soon. 🙂

    Great review, Larissa!
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    • Larissa says:

      It really was a gem! Mosquitoland would definitely fall into the latter category haha. I hope you do end up checking this one out soon, I think you’d adore it.

      Thanks Joy <33

  11. Alreem says:

    wow sound like a good book, I will add it to my TBR 🙂
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  12. Gahh… This looks adorable. Me want my precious 😀
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  13. Lexa Cain says:

    Wow – 4-and-a-half stars! It sounds like a very unique and well-crafted book. Thanks for the great review! 🙂
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  14. Wow Larissa I love your review, it really intrigued me. At first I thought that the book title was just ridiculous I mean seriously but you got me interested haha
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    • Larissa says:

      Awww thank you Chyna <33 Hahah yeah, the title seems a little left field at first. Once you read the story you'll understand though and appreciate it more. Glad I was able to get you interested, this one is definitely deserving of interest.

  15. You CRIED? Oh God, I can’t handle crying from any more books. 2015 has left me in such a wreck already I swear. What’s with all the poignant reads pulling at my heart this year??
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  16. Shelumiel says:

    I’m really excited for this one! Been hearing so many fantastic stuff about it, from people whose opinion I value. I’m glad you liked it! 🙂
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  17. I just finished the audio last week. So! Good! I definitely teared up myself. I’m so happy I read it. 🙂

    • Larissa says:

      Oooooo! I can just imagine how amazing it would be to hear Mim’s amazing voice. Glad I’m not alone in the tears haha. I’m also too happy I got to experience the wonderful story Arnold crafted.

  18. Melanie says:

    I dunno why but I just really love the cover–those colours really stand out. Mim sounds like a well structured and gorgeous character that I totally need to encounter–yay for strong character development 🙂 AND WHOOOP A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY. ME WANTS IT EVEN MORE NOW.

    Beautiful, beautiful review, girl! <33

  19. Oh my goodness. I have seen this book floating around the internet, and I always thought that the cover was really cute, and that the title was really weird – but I never looked into it.

    Now I simply MUST. Your review is so lovely and gorgeous, and talks about this book in such an emotional way, I think I need this in my life right now.

    one of my all time favourite things to read in books is vivid and important secondary characters. I despise the characters that are only introduced as a plot device, or as a stand-in when the main character needs something. And yet the secondary characters in MOSQUITOLAND sounds like they play really pivotal roles in the book.

    Mim sounds like a pretty broken main character, but I love those so if anything that fact makes me want to read this book.

    And also TEARS. I love crying in books because it is REALLY DIFFICULT to make me cry. So I know a book is really special when it is able to completely rip my heart out and tear into my soul. Which is sounds like MOSQUITOLAND did for you.

    Gorgeous review, dear! <3
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  20. I got a sampler of this book and really loved Mim’s voice so much!
    I’m very glad to hear that you really loved this one and enjoyed the character development so much!
    Great review Larissa!
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  21. I’ve had my eye on this book for such a long time, I’m glad you loved it! Mim sounds wonderful, I love how she seems to spark this book to life with her curious and observant ways. Oh these themes and this journey she embarks on already has me itching for a copy. Lovely review, Larissa!!
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  22. Awwww, this sounds wonderful, Larissa! I’ve seen this book being talked about on Twitter for the past few days, and can you believe that’s actually where I first learned about it?! I would love to read more about this and be invested in an emotional journey, too. This sounds like a complex read that explores many themes and many emotions, which is just right up my alley. I’m such a crybaby, too XD I feel like I would also cry buckets here!
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  23. This was such a well-articulated review, and one that definitely has me wanting to read the book. 🙂 I’m very interested in how the book seems like a journey of self-discovery, but may lead into something deeper. Great review!
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