One of the last books I read in 2015, also happened to be one of the best books I read in 2015. Scratch that. Probably one of the best books I read in years. It’d been a little while since I’d read a young adult fiction novel that really tugged at my heart strings. (Right now, I’m remembering the way Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun just completely blew me away.) Well, after I’d seen some of my favorite YA authors praise David Arnold’s Misquitoland I knew I had to see what all fuss was about. Well, it didn’t take me long of peeking into Mim’s journey to realize, “oh my!” This was one of those characters you meet, (like Hazel Grace Lancaster) where I saw pieces of myself in her. I felt like I could be a companion on this Greyhound because I recognized her encounters. Then I came across this line, fairly early on:
I realized, Arnold gets it. I hate to even bring his gender to attention here, but having experienced being a teenage girl – it’s amazingly how acutely accurate the thoughts splashed across each page resonate. I don’t even want to ruin anything in trying to describe what this book is about (I avoided synopsis for this very reason.) Each element of Mim’s journey was such a delicious surprise. Heart-wrenching in anguish at times, shocking, surprising, heart-melting, inspiring – it’s all encapsulated in this young girl’s trip. It’s one of those where she goes out seeking one thing in the beginning (her mother,) but in the end finds so much more. As always, the revelations about friendships and unconventional relationships in this life are monumental. But they come about in the most surprising of ways. I found myself setting the book on my chest, as I just laid in my bed trying to catch my breath from the tears choking me. I know, I’m an atypical emotional reader; the tone I catch from a page may be a different experience for others, but Mosquitoland is a story that touched me to my core. If you’re looking for a read that is fresh with a witty, endearing narrator, I think you’ve met your match. The praise for this novel is well deserved. I’ve yet to find any friends who’ve read it yet, so I’d love to hear what others think!
(Cover art image from David Arnold books; Quote image from my personal instagram account.)