For every book we read during the book club, we’ll write a review so that anyone who couldn’t be there can still join in with the fun! Saskia den Ouden is our YA book club reviewer, judging all the books we read.
Mary Iris ‘Mim’ Malone is a teenager, dropped by her father and stepmother in the middle of Mississippi. She’s understandably unhappy about this and decides to travel on a Greyhound to Ohio, where she was born and where her mother still lives. During her trip she meets a bunch of ‘colorful’ characters, both good and bad and she writes letters to someone who isn’t with her.
Although Mosquitoland is not a bad book, I didn’t care much for it. All the characters we meet seem like card board cut outs of actual people and Mim is five quirks in a trench coat. Now of course, this could be on purpose. Through most of the book Mim’s grip on reality is tenuous at best and since we experience most of the book through her eyes, the reader’s should be also. However, it seems that David Arnold tried to steer for Uncanny Valley but accidentally ended up in Cartoonland instead.
Many big and awful things happen (including a bus crash, a near stabbing, and sexual assault), but it rarely ever seems to have an impact for more than a page or two. They are minor bumps in the road to get Mim to where she’s going, which seems a little weird because such things (especially a bus crash) should have more effect on a character than they do.
On the other hand, the book reads very fast and although Mim in her Mim-ness can grate on the nerves, she never becomes really unlikeable. She’s just a girl with a different perspective. The story does remain interesting throughout and the twists that happen, are quite surprising.
It’s a nice summer read, but I feel that when it comes to people struggling with their own brain, there are better books out there.