cover image Mosquitoland


David Arnold. Viking, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-451-47077-5

Newcomer Arnold’s protagonist, 16-year-old Mim Malone, is as hold-nothing-back honest as they come, which makes the narrative she provides about her outlandish trek from Mississippi to Cleveland wholly enjoyable. Mim, blind in one eye from a solar eclipse and suffering from a “misplaced epiglottis” that results in unpredictable spells of vomiting, is reeling from her parents’ divorce and an unclear psychiatric diagnosis when she is dragged to Mississippi by her father and new stepmother. Determined to get back to her mother, Mim hops a bus to Cleveland, beginning an Odysseus-like adventure that introduces a delightfully eclectic cast of characters, who are made all the more memorable by Mim’s descriptions (“I’ve only known two other Carls in my lifetime—an insurgent moonshiner and a record store owner—both of whom taught me important... life lessons. In my book, Carls are a top-notch species”). There is no shortage of humor in Mim’s musings, interspersed with tender scenes and a few heart-pounding surprises. Mim’s triumphant evolution is well worth the journey. Ages 12–up. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Mar.)