It seems appropriate that David Arnold's MOSQUITOLAND ended up in a post by itself, because this is a book that isn't like others I've read recently. The narrator, 16-year-old Mim Malone, has an incredibly unique voice—just this close to being over-quirked, but with all of those quirks coming together in the end to create a believable, fully rounded whole. Mim is a girl with a lot to say and a lot to discover, and her story is truly a must-read.
So what is that story? Mim's parents have separated, and her father has remarried. Dad and Kathy have moved Mim from her hometown outside of Cleveland, Ohio, to Mississippi, which Mim refers to with no small amount of scorn as "Mosquitoland." When Mim finds out that her mom is ill back in Cleveland, she skips town on a Greyhound bus headed north. Most of the book follows Mim's journey, which is filled with colorful characters—both good and evil—and vivid southern settings. In addition to the main narrative, Mim fills in her own backstory in letters to Isabel. As she's on the road, you slowly learn what took her to the precipice and what she's really hoping to find when she reaches her destination. And that destination, for us readers, is so well-earned. (That's all I'll say, for fear of spoiling the journey!) MOSQUITOLAND is a coming-of-age odyssey that grapples with mental illness, first love, and a host of other tough issues, and it's really something special. It's out March 3!
Probably no Friday Reads next week, as I—*ahem*—have to launch my own book. But stay tuned for more great reads in the future, as my to-read list gets longer and longer...