Mosquitoland by David Arnold, review by Melissa Fox
Mary Iris Malone -- Mim to everyone but her mother -- is not happy. A sequence of events, which includes her parents divorcing and her father marrying a waitress he met at Denny's, has landed her in the middle of nowhere, Mississippi. Which is a long way from her home and her friends in Ohio.
This does not sit well with Mim, who just wants her mother back, her old life back, her home back. She's doing the usual teenage thing and acting out, ending up in the principal's office. And when she overhears her dad and his wife talking about Mim's mom being sick, Miim snaps. She takes off from school, packs a backpack, grab's Kathy's coffee can stash of money, and heads to the Greyhound bus station. She's headed back to Ohio this Labor Day weekend to see her mother, come hell or high water.
Of course, for there to be a book, getting to Ohio can't be easy. There are perils in them thar woods, and Mim is in for one of those life-changing adventures. There are some creepy people on the road, but she makes friends, both causal and the best-friend-types. And she discovers that maybe humanity -- and her step-mom-- aren't as bad as she's always made them out to be.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It started out slow and kind of awkward; Mim is a tough shell to crack and a prickly character at the beginning. But the more time I spent with her, the more more she revealed about her family and her life -- through diary entries she addressed to Iris -- the more I grew to love her. The people she met were fascinating and quirky, and I when the book ended, wanted to go on more adventures with them.
It's perfect for those who love a good road trip.