Review Detail

Mosquitoland FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 5692
Full of sharp wit, abundant strangeness, and endless quotability
(Updated: April 02, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
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.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

Comments

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

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Instant Karma
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
In New York Times bestselling author Marissa Meyer's young adult...
Put Yourself in My Shoes
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Cricket goes for a walk, he finds Ladybug searching...
Selma
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Selma is asked: What is happiness? ...
Benjamin's Blue Feet
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A young bird with a flair for discovery and invention...
Pocket Piggies: I Love You!
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
What’s the best thing in the world? I...
Everything Under the Sun
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sun’s Reach is in dire peril. The last...
Lizzy Albright and the Attic Window
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lizzy Albright, a red-headed, freckle-faced girl from Overland Park, Kansas,...
Send Me Their Souls (Bring Me Their Hearts, #3)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
There are worse things than death. ...
The Walrus and the Caribou
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
When the earth was new, words had the power to...
The Elephant's Umbrella
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Elephant is always ready and willing to share her prized...
Calvin Gets the Last Word
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The dictionary as narrator? YES! ...
Goblin King (Permafrost, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Kara Barbieri's Goblin King, the stunning sequel in the...
Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Morrigan battles a new evil as a strange, frightening illness...
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
*AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER* From New York...
Earth-Shattering Events: Volcanoes, earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis and other natural disasters
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
An atlas of the most extreme meteorological and geological disasters...
Among the Beasts and Briars
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Ashley Poston, acclaimed author of Heart of Iron, returns...

Latest Member Reviews

No entries were found