Publisher: Viking Children's, an imprint of Penguin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Contemporary
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Source: ARC provided by the publisher, opinions are honest and my own. – review policy here.
You know those books that just stay with you long after you read them? The kind where you went in not expecting much, and was then blown away by it? This was that kind of book for me. I went into this book as I do most contemporaries, expecting mostly fluff, but this book was so much more than that. In fact, I never tab or sticky books, with a few exceptions, but I tabbed this one so much. And then I bought a finished copy. I’m not saying that this is a perfect book. It has its moments. But I still found it an exceptional read.
Mary Iris Malone, known as Mim, has been uprooted from her mother and childhood home, to move with her father and new stepmother to what she has dubbed “Mosquitoland”. When she finds out her mother is sick, she hops on a Greyhound bus to go back to Ohio. Along the way, she gets into quite a few skirmishes, and meets an eclectic group of people.
Mim isn’t the most likeable character, I think, but I also think that was the point. I actually enjoyed her quite a bit. She was blunt, honest, and clever. She has a different and unique way of looking at things, and she wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is. This book is told in two ways: Mim narrating her current journey, and Mim’s letters to someone that mainly include flashbacks from her life. We get to learn who Mim really is, and she is quite an interesting person. She sees the world differently, and that’s a good thing.
I love a good road trip story, and this was just that. But along the way, Mim also has to learn to fight her demons. This was a coming of age story, in which Mim learns who she is, and what she wants out of life. Her father has spent most of Mim’s life obsessed that there’s something “wrong” with her, so Mim either covers up how she really feels, or wonders if maybe there really is something wrong with her. Mim isn’t a perfect character. She makes mistakes, does many things wrong. But that’s all part of her learning experience. This book touches on subjects that are so important, says things that really need to be said, that people need to hear.
And I loved the supporting cast. Walt, Beck, every person she meets along the way. Mim gets herself into quite the situations, but they were so much fun to read about. This book is so well-written, the pages will seem to fly by. Mim herself says that she is not a fan of predictable endings, and I think Arnold did a great job of tying up loose ends while still keeping them open, and not being predictable.
This is definitely one of those books that I wish I could shove on everyone. While I realize this book may not be for everyone, I loved it so much. I thought it had an important message, one we all need to hear. But it wasn’t so serious that it bogged down the story, it was also fun and entertaining. An all-around great story.