Home / Book Review / Amazingly Quirky Characters | Book Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Amazingly Quirky Characters | Book Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Mosquitoland is strange in the best way possible.

Book Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Goodreads | Amazon | David Arnold’s Website

Mosquitoland by david arnold book review

Title & Author: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary, Road Trip

Release Date: March 3, 2015

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Viking Children’s

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.”

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.

Not Your Average Road Trip

When people see the cover of Mosquitoland, I worry they’ll think it’s just another fun, summer road trip book. It’s really not.

This is the type of book that has the fun and adventure of a cross-country bus trip, but with a way more in-depth examination of humanity and family and discovery.

Mim, an “acroname” for Mary Iris Malone, is not okay. She hasn’t heard from her mom in weeks (via snail mail), and Mim is finally getting worried enough to hop a bus from Mississippi to Cleveland to see her.

Things I loved about Mosqutioland:

1. Mim is the funniest and quirkiest character ever. She’s blind in one eye and has never told anyone. She’s got a “fluttering epiglottis,” which means puking can happen at any moment. And best of all, Mim is the type of girl who adores quirks in others.

2. The story is written as things happen in “real time” in the story, along with a letter-writing “insight” style. Throughout the book, Mim is writing letters to an unknown recipient and is sharing her thoughts, past experiences and findings along her journey.

I love how the story deftly blended action as it happened and more introspective in-the-mind-of-Mim reflections.

3. The book’s endpapers (below) match the people and places Mim encounters. I know it’s a small thing, but this really added a deeper connection between me and Mosquitoland.

A photo posted by Uppercase (@uppercasebox) on

It’s fun checking back and seeing where Mim is on the winding path of Chinese food, large men and weird statues.

4. An unreliable narrator. I’ll just leave this here…

As you might have realized by this point, there is a lot I loved about this story. This is the type of book to enjoy at your own pace. It meanders and builds and twists. Mosquitoland is a story to sink and immerse yourself into.


There’s no other book out there like this one. It’s easy to get caught up in the strange, disturbing, joyful and eye-opening moments throughout the story. Mim, our quirky heroine, and her band of misfit strangers, friends and family make Mosquitoland truly memorable and 100% worth reading.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.