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Mosquitoland
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Mosquitoland
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"Top-notch" —USA Today "Illuminating" —Washington Post "A breath of fresh air" —Entertainment Weekly "Memorable" —People By the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of...
"Top-notch" —USA Today "Illuminating" —Washington Post "A breath of fresh air" —Entertainment Weekly "Memorable" —People By the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of...
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  • "Top-notch" —USA Today
    "Illuminating" —Washington Post
    "A breath of fresh air" —Entertainment Weekly
    "Memorable" —People
    By the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite!

    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.
    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-

  • From the book JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI
    (947 miles to go)


    1. A Thing's Not a Thing Until You Say It Out Loud

    I am Mary Iris Malone, and I am not okay.


    2. The Uncomfortable Nearness of Strangers

    September 1—afternoon

    Dear Isabel,

    As a member of the family, you have a right to know what's going on. Dad agrees but says I should avoid "topics of substance and despair." When I asked how he propose I do this, seeing as our family is prone to substantial desperation, he rolled his eyes and flared his nostrils, like he does. The thing is, I'm incapable of fluff, so here goes. The straight dope, Mim-style. Filled to the brim with "topics of substance and despair."

    Just over a month ago, I moved from the greener pastures of Ashland, Ohio, to the dried-up wastelands of Jackson, Mississippi, with Dad and Kathy. During that time, it's possible I've gotten into some trouble at my new school. Not trouble with a capital T, you understand, but this is a subtle distinction for adults once they're determined to ruin a kid's youth. My new principal is just such a man. He scheduled a conference for ten a.m. this morning, in which the malfeasance of Mim Malone would be the only point of order. Kathy switched her day shift at Denny's so she could join Dad as a parental representative. I was in algebra II, watching Mr. Harrow carry on a romantic relationship with his polynomials, when my name echoed down the coral-painted hallways.

    "Mim Malone, please report to Principal Schwartz's office. Mim Malone to the principal's office."

    (Suffice it to say, I didn't want to go, but the Loudspeaker summoned, and the Student responded, and 'twas always thus.)

    The foyer leading into the principal's office was dank, a suffocating decor of rusty maroons and browns. Inspirational posters were plastered around the room, boasting one-word encouragements and eagles soaring over purple mountains' majesty.

    I threw up a little, swallowed it back down.

    "You can go on back," said a secretary without looking up. "They're expecting you."

    Beyond the secretary's desk, Principal Schwartz's heavy oak door was cracked open an inch. Nearing it, I heard low voices on the other side.

    "What's her mother's name again?" asked Schwartz, his timbre muffled by that lustrous seventies mustache, a holdover from the glory days no doubt.

    "Eve," said Dad.

    Schwartz: "Right, right. What a shame. Well, I hope Mim is grateful for your involvement, Kathy. Heaven knows she needs a mother figure right now."

    Kathy: "We all just want Eve to get better, you know? And she will. She'll beat this disease. Eve's a fighter."

    Just outside the door, I stood frozen—inside and out.

    Disease?

    Schwartz: (Sigh.) "Does Mim know?"

    Dad: (Different kind of sigh.) "No. The time just doesn't seem right. New school, new friends, lots of . . . new developments, as you can see."

    Schwartz: (Chuckle.) "Quite. Well, hopefully things will come together for Eve in . . . where did you say she was?"

    Dad: "Cleveland. And thank you. We're hoping for the best."

    (Every great character, Iz, be it on page or screen, is multidimensional. The good guys aren't all good, the bad guys aren't all bad, and any character wholly one or the other shouldn't exist at all. Remember this when I describe the antics that follow, for though I am not a villain, I am not immune to villainy.)

    Our Heroine turns from the oak door, calmly exits the office, the school, the grounds. She walks in a daze, trying to put the pieces together. Across the football field, athletic...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 26, 2015
    Newcomer Arnold’s protagonist, 16-year-old Mim Malone, is as hold-nothing-back honest as they come, which makes the narrative she provides about her outlandish trek from Mississippi to Cleveland wholly enjoyable. Mim, blind in one eye from a solar eclipse and suffering from a “misplaced epiglottis” that results in unpredictable spells of vomiting, is reeling from her parents’ divorce and an unclear psychiatric diagnosis when she is dragged to Mississippi by her father and new stepmother. Determined to get back to her mother, Mim hops a bus to Cleveland, beginning an Odysseus-like adventure that introduces a delightfully eclectic cast of characters, who are made all the more memorable by Mim’s descriptions (“I’ve only known two other Carls in my lifetime—an insurgent moonshiner and a record store owner—both of whom taught me important... life lessons. In my book, Carls are a top-notch species”). There is no shortage of humor in Mim’s musings, interspersed with tender scenes and a few heart-pounding surprises. Mim’s triumphant evolution is well worth the journey. Ages 12–up. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from January 1, 2015
    Encounters both dangerous and wonder-filled with fellow travelers prompt 16-year-old runaway Mim to scrutinize her perceptions about herself, her family and the world she inhabits.Convinced that her father and stepmother are hiding secrets about her mother's health and also frustrated by her father's insistence that she take antipsychotic medication, Mim steals an emergency cash fund to travel 1,000 miles to her mother. Aboard the Greyhound bus, Mim's inner monologues about other passengers reveal her snarky sense of superiority, which is alternately hilarious, cutting and full of bravado. But her self-imposed, disdainful isolation quickly dissolves in the aftermath of a harrowing accident. Completing her journey suddenly necessitates interacting with a motley set of fellow travelers. Mim's father's doubts about the stability of her perceptions feed a continual sense of tension as readers (and Mim herself) attempt to evaluate which of Mim's conclusions about her fellow characters-both the seemingly charming and seemingly menacing-can be trusted. Arnold pens a stunning debut, showcasing a cast of dynamic characters whose individual struggles are real but not always fully explained, a perfect decision for a book whose timeline is brief. Ultimately, Mim revises moments from her own narrative, offering readers tantalizing glimpses of the adult Mim will eventually become and reminding readers that the end of the novel is not the end of Mim's journey-or her story. Mesmerizing. (Fiction. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2015

    Gr 7 Up-Mary Iris Malone, aka Mim, has moved from Cleveland to Mississippi (or Mosquitoland as Mim derisively calls it) with her father and new stepmother, who want her to forget her old life and even her mother. Mim is already struggling, but when she becomes convinced that her stepmother is keeping them apart, the teen steals money and hits the road to Cleveland to save her mother. The journey has bumps along the way-from a bus crash to unsavory characters. There are allies too, including romantic lead Beck and Walt, a homeless young man with Down syndrome. Mim grows on the trip and is forced to confront hard truths. Debut author Arnold's book is filled with some incredible moments of insight. The protagonist is a hard-edged narrator with a distinct voice. There is a lot for teens to admire and even savor-but there are also some deeply problematic elements. There's cultural appropriation: Mim uses lipstick to paint her face to soothe herself, calling it "war paint" and assuring readers that this is fine because she's "part" Cherokee. Walt's characterization veers close to stock, being only an inspiration for Mim. She and Beck have to take Walt to a veterinarian during a medical emergency. They joke that he is "kind of our pet." The revelations about Mim's mother's mental health, and her own mental health, arrive without clear foreshadowing and feel somewhat disjointed-particularly Mim's ultimate decision about her own medication. Recommended for larger collections, this is a readable, original story with strong writing, but the issues cannot be ignored.-Angie Manfredi, Los Alamos County Library System, NM

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books yeonjae0819 - I am on the time of reading this book and about at chapter seven. From the first chapter I was surprised. The format is honestly different than most of the books. This book mostly talks about feelings of how you feel till now what I read. Also, it is quite of a mixture of a letter and a story which really makes you to be impressed about it.
  • Booklist

    Starred review from February 1, 2015
    Grades 8-12 *Starred Review* As she so often claims, I am Mary Iris Malone and I am not okay. For most of her 16 years, Mim has believed this to be the truth. But after her father and new stepmom conspire to keep her away from her mother, who is struggling to get well in Cleveland, Mim sets out on an odyssey from Mississippi. Arnold populates his debut novel with memorable, inventive characters who keep Mim company and keep the reader invested as the miles count down, such as her unlikely kinship with street kid Walt and the devastatingly handsome Beckett Van Buren. Meanwhile, the twists of Mim's story involving her immediate family are fleshed out through letters she writes in her journal. Arnold boldly tackles mental illness and despair, and sexual assault and sexual identity, without ever once losing the bigheartedness of the story. Arnold gives Mim a worldview that is open and quirky-morphing-into-kitschy, and though some events come off as overly convenient, the honesty always resonates. As Mim reaches Cleveland, and Walt and Beck follow the road to their own destinations, Arnold never lets up on the accelerator of life's hard lessons. In the words of one of Mim's Greyhound seatmates, this has pizzazzlots and lots of it.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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