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Mosquitoland by David Arnold was alright

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Indigo Kroll, Editor

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Mosquitoland by David Arnold is one of the many recent books that features a witty and smart lead female character, a new (and awesome) trend in YA literature. The characters in this book are probably the most significant and best part of the story; Mim, the main character, is of questionable sanity. She’s grown up under not so great circumstances, with her father and a new step-mother that she’s not fond of. Her biological mother disappeared after her parents were divorced, and Mim is left completely in the dark about where she has gone. That’s why she takes off on a Greyhound bus to find her. The book is written as a collection of letters to an initially unknown character, Isabel.

The book plays up Mim’s “quirkiness” a lot. Like, a lot a lot. The point that she’s unique and “not like other teen girls” is pushed almost obnoxiously. Since it is written by an adult man, and not a teenage girl, the depiction doesn’t seem entirely accurate. Regardless, the book is pretty unique, and I still liked it.

Mental illness is also a big topic of discussion in Mosquitoland. The struggle between to be medicated or not to be is one that Mim faces. The stigmas around mental illness were accurately portrayed, and there was also a character, Walt, that Mim met on the way who had Down Syndrome. This inclusion of disabilities was great, though it wasn’t executed in the best way. More disabled characters should be featured in YA books, but maybe in a better and more significant fashion.

My final complaint is that Mim uses some problematic terms and customs when it comes to traditional Native American face paint. Again, this is supposed to be from the point of view of a young teenager, but it was still a little awkward when she repeatedly drew on a stereotype surrounding indigenous people.

This book wasn’t the most fantastic one I’ve ever read, but I don’t regret reading it.

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Mosquitoland by David Arnold was alright