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

Right Where You Left Me
In search of the perfect story to put a human...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lucky Broken Girl
Based on the author's childhood in the 1960s, a young...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Coming Up For Air
Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner....
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Our Broken Pieces
The only thing worse than having your boyfriend dump...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Landscape with Invisible Hand
National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The 12 Dares of Christa
Christa is a holiday junkie. What’s not to love?...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Invictus
Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The...
 
4.7
 
4.0 (1)
A Short History of the Girl Next Door
The unrequited love of the girl next door is...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dear Martin
ustyce McAllister is top of his class and set for...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Come Home, Angus
Angus woke up mad and knew today was not his...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rulers of the Playground
A stunning picture book about sharing, friendship, and kindness in...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny
June Sparrow and her best friend—a miniature pig named Indigo...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Story Sparks:  Finding Your Best Story Ideas & Turning Them into Compelling Fiction
Find rock-solid story ideas before you start writing ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Elect
For the past thirteen years, the Foundation has ruled Belstrana...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Girl in the Tower
A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Soul Mates by J Butterworth
Alex is born into a future society were at birth...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

The Scorch Trials
 
4.7
"While this wasn't quite as good as the first book in the series, it does a great job of continuing..."
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
 
2.7
"I liked it better when it was called "Battle Royale" (an older japanese movie) or The Long Walk by Stephen..."
Right Where You Left Me
 
3.0
"Right Where You Left Me’ is the story of Charlotte. Her mother is a Russian immigrate who works in the..."
Lucky Broken Girl
 
4.3
"‘Lucky Broken Girl’ is a middle-grade novel about a girl named Ruth. Ruth is growing up in 1960’s NYC. Her..."
Dear Martin
 
5.0
"Justyce is at the top of his class, captain of the debate team, and on track to attend a prestigious..."
A Court of Wings and Ruin
 
5.0
"Alright warning time. As with most books that I read, this has been labeled problematic. Though this one is completely..."
Wintersong
 
1.0
"This is going to be more like a rant/review than just a review. I am honestly proud that I finished..."
Enshadowed (Nevermore #2)
 
5.0
"First off... that freaking cliffhanger!? I can't even... I could not imagine having read this the year it came out..."
Nevermore (Nevermore #1)
 
4.7
" It's great! What I love the most is how dark and gritty the world felt. It was so cool..."
House of Night: Hunted
 
3.3
"So the Nerd Herd is now underground and hiding away from Kalona. Aphrodite and Stevie-Rae have imprinted, Stark is an..."
House of Night: Untamed
 
3.3
"So this one picks up right where the other left off and don't worry if you haven't read the others..."
House of Night: Chosen
 
3.3
"Zoey now knows that her old mentor is not what she claims to be. She's hiding something and doing things..."
House of Night: Betrayed
 
3.3
"This one picks up not far where Marked left off. Zoey is now in charge of the Daughters of Darkness...."
Roar (Stormheart #1)
 
N/A
"DNF PAGE 133 - I hate DNFing a book. I hardly ever do it. I personally feel like I'm giving..."
Truthers
 
3.3
"So, I've said before that for some reason I love conspiracy theories. Do I believe any of them? No. I..."
Mask of Shadows
 
3.3
"Okay I loved the premise of this book and I love the fact that it features a Genderfluid MC but..."
Hunted
 
3.7
"What I love most about this book is the setting. Medieval Russia, like hell yeah sign me up! I love..."
The Hanging Girl
 
4.0
"The Hanging Girl was a quick, suspenseful read. Author Eileen Cook has a great writing style. The story picked up..."
Princess Breeze
 
4.3
"This is the second book in a very adorable, fun series. This story starts with Breeze Brannigan's end of the..."
Coming Up For Air
 
4.3
"Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat. All of Maggie’s focus and free time..."