Review Detail

 
Mosquitoland Featured
Young Adult Fiction
(Updated: April 02, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

Full of sharp wit, abundant strangeness, and endless quotability

The first thing a reader notices when they pick up MOSQUITOLAND is the voice. Self-proclaimed strange protagonist Mary Iris Malone (“Mim”) leaps off the page, a precocious, declarative and impulsive girl with a view of life and people that is, even at its most stable, a little askew. She is quick to judge and quicker to act, and though her wit is razor-sharp, her common sense is quite a bit more blunted.

Which is why, as one might expect, her spur-of-the-moment road trip to find her absentee mom doesn’t go exactly as planned.

It’s an odd thing, sometimes, being an adult reading books about teenagers. Actions I would have cheered in my adolescence cause me to cringe, situations that appear romantic and exciting to a 16-year-old seem rife with danger, and the logic that feels incontrovertible to the teenage protagonist is riddled with holes.

Often, these are the sorts of things that can pull me out of a story, because checking one’s adult sensibilities at the door is not a natural impulse. Honestly, Mim makes a few choices that would probably even give some — or most — of her peers pause. But her voice is so open and authentic that even when she’s jumping into a scrap-heap truck with an older boy she just met or taking a dip in a probably-disease-riddled swimming hole or any of the myriad other weird and ill-considered things she does, I was with Mim, totally and completely, instead of wishing I could pull her back before she charged headlong into disaster.

And she does, on more than one occasion, charge into disaster. Sometimes physical and cataclysmic, sometimes internal and echoing, and probably not nearly as frequent as might be likely if a real-life Mim were to embark on this same journey. But the consequences Mim faces for her impulsive and often uninformed decisions are enough that while a reader may sympathize with Mim’s intentions, they can still recognize her fallibility and naivete.

As for tone, this book skillfully straddles the line between “issues” and “light” contemporary. It tackles hard topics in a way that gives them weight without bogging down the narrative, and balances tough real-world issues — mental illness, suicide, divorce, and sexual predators, among others (it’s worth mentioning that this book is marketed for readers 12 and up, but I think it skews a bit older) — with an effervescent lightness, as if the story has been painted with a vibrant, Wes Anderson-esque brush. Every part of MOSQUITOLAND is a little brighter and larger than life, from the cast to the plot to Mim herself and her perception of reality.

For my money, that’s a good thing: Mim views her story as grandiose and that is how she tells it, and being submerged in her off-the-beaten-path brain gives her tale a degree of authenticity that may not have been present with a more straightforward narrative.

Mim’s odyssey is a strange one, full of strange characters and strange happenings. But it’s also beautiful and fun and heartfelt and raw, and while Mim’s musings are not always brimming with objective wisdom, they are honest and endlessly quotable.

If you’re a fan of surprisingly eventful road trips, of quirky and bizarre casts of characters, of flawed protagonists, of vivid settings and skewed realities, of the type of voice that will dig its way into your brain and refuse to let go, and of strangeness, I can’t recommend MOSQUITOLAND highly enough.

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Mother Cary's Butter Knife (Shadows & Light)
The smallest of three brothers, Keenan Mowat had a priceless...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars
Did you know that the earth is covered in three...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Three Sides of A Heart: Stories About Love Triangles
You may think you know the love triangle, but...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The November Girl
I am Anda, and the lake is my mother....
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Approximately Yours (North Pole, Minnesota)
Danny Garland is so out of Holly’s league. And...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Penny Lost
Penelope Grace, usually forgotten under the shadow of her...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Chasing Eveline
Sixteen-year-old Ivy Higgins is the only student at Carmel...
 
4.7
 
5.0 (2)
Good and Gone
When Lexi Green’s older brother, Charlie, starts plotting a...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Glow
When thrift-store aficionado Julie discovers a series of antique paintings...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Stolen Secrets
After an abrupt move across the country to San Francisco,...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Somebody's Baby
Ever since Sloan won a reality singing competition, her music...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
White Rabbit
Caleb Roehrig, author of Last Seen Leaving, delivers another spellbinding...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Temptation of Adam
Adam Hawthorne is fine. Yeah, his mother left, his...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Undiscovered Country
In the aftermath of her mother's death, Cat recklessly...
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
Frazzled: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes
Things are looking up for Abbie Wu: this year...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Apex (Hunter Series #3)
Being a member of the Elite Hunter Command imperils...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Dune (Dune Chronicles #1)
 
5.0
"Its a classic. Not much more I can add."
On A LARP
 
3.3
"In ON A LARP, Sid is known to be a hacker after a past school prank, and she's a good..."
Code Name Verity
 
4.3
"The year is 1943. The setting locations are England, and Nazi-occupied France. The book is told in a..."
Good and Gone
 
3.7
"Road tripping with a purpose, Good and Bad is a journey, the reader won't soon forget. Lexi's brother,..."
Glow
 
5.0
"'There's a certain kind of light that I should have been afraid of all along.' Radium was discovered..."
Release
 
4.0
"Wildly original--and completely realistic--Release is a whirlwind of a tale, one that will leave you both completely confused, yet satiated...."
Stolen Secrets
 
4.3
"What worked: This is an amazing tale with an unique twist on the holocaust and the survivors. What I really..."
Somebody's Baby
 
4.3
"SOMEBODY’S BABY by Lurlene McDaniel is the perfect follow up to her novel LOSING GABRIEL, which I absolutely loved. I..."
White Rabbit
 
5.0
"Rufus just wants one day of semi-fun, something he hasn’t had since his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian, wrecked his heart. But then,..."
The Last Namsara
 
3.3
"Asha, daughter of the king, is feared and admired as the greatest dragon hunter. She is nicknamed the Iskari, after..."
The November Girl
 
4.0
"Anda lives on an island on Lake Superior. For most of the year, she’s there with her father, trying to..."
Approximately Yours (North Pole, Minnesota)
 
5.0
"It’s been years since Holly was in North Pole, Minnesota, the place she loved with her grandmother. But now with..."
Daughter of the Burning City
 
5.0
"Daughter of the Burning City was an enticing, mysterious and compelling novel. It tells the story of Sorina, an illusion-worker..."
Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice #1)
 
4.0
"A mature middle-grade fantasy—sporting a medieval feel and steeped in an eerie English folklore ambiance which, at times, drifts over..."
Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack #1)
 
4.7
"This first-person present-tense piece of historical YA fiction begins a bit like a Charles Dicken’s work—eighteenth-century London, poor destitute orphan,..."
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)
 
5.0
"I just really really love The Raven Cycle series! It was an amazing series and I just adored it! ..."
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3)
 
5.0
"Blue Lily, Lily Blue was another great addition to The Raven Cycle! It was an amazing novel filled with fantasy,..."
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
 
5.0
"I really loved The Dream Thieves! It was a fun, magical and captivating novel. The Dream Thieves continues Gansey's,..."
The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1)
 
5.0
"I really enjoyed reading The Raven Boys. It was filled with mystery, magic and adventure. The Raven Boys had..."
Echo After Echo
 
4.3
"WHAT I LOVED: Something tells me more than a few actresses could read this book and say afterwards "yep, some..."