Mosquitoland by David Arnold is a beautiful book. And I can say that without even opening it... although I have opened it, and devoured the stunning prose over a single weekend. But right now, we're talking about the cover. I mean, just look at it. Look at it! Kudos to the design team over at Viking. They've designed a book that demands to be picked up immediately and will remain a staple on home library bookshelves everywhere. Please make posters. Okay? Thanks.
Alright, I'm finishing gushing over the design. Because gorgeous cover aside, Mosquitoland is also story that demands to be picked up immediately.
Mosquitoland tells the story of Mim Malone, a young girl struggling with identity, her complex family, and being torn from her home in Ohio to a new place in Mississippi. When her mother gets sick back at home, she embarks on an epic road trip back to Cleveland... but no trip is ever that simple. And neither is this book. It's a complicated novel with a memorable cast of characters, and packed full of quotable moments that will likely end up being literary tattoos in the future.
When it comes to road trip novels, some make us laugh and smile, like John Green's Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines, and others make us cry and give us perspective, like Matt De La Pena's We Were Here. But what is it that makes a YA road trip novel so gripping? The promise of adventure? Of new interesting people? Watching a character learn about themselves as the miles tick on by? What I love about books that take you on an epic road trip, whether it's on foot or in a car, all the way across the country or just a little jaunt down the coast, is that the journey is always as interesting as the destination.
And that's certainly the case with Arnold's hilarious and heart-wrenching debut novel. And just like the rest of the bookish community, I'm eagerly anticipating his next book, Kids of Appetite, due out in 2016.
For those of you looking for more road trip books, here's a list of some fantastic reads:
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCourDidn't we just talk about beautiful covers? Well, here's another one. Perhaps that's another key thing in the YA-road-trip genre. Cover must be gorgeous.
LaCour's road trip novel focuses on the band manager of The Disenchantments, an all-girl rock band getting ready to go on their first tour. However, things get complicated when the lead singer gets ready to bail, and we learn our dear protagonist has been in love with her for years.
Open Road Summer by Emery LordWant another road trip novel of music and broken hearts? You might want to check out Emery Lord's Open Road Summer, which trades The Disenchantment's indie rock and dive bar scene for a famous country music superstar.
Let's Get Lost by Adi AlsaidThis road trip novel is the kind of book that's perfect to read a little bit at a time, as it's told from the perspective of five characters, broken into five parts, and essentially reads like five long short stories. How they all connect... well, I'll leave that to you to discover when you pick this one up.
Road to Somewhere by Kelley Lynn & Jenny S. MorrisTwo sisters, Charlie and Lucy, hit the road on a post-high school road trip that take them to some unexpected places. What was supposed to be a journey of partying in L.A for Charlie quickly becomes a bonding trip for her and Charlie. This is another book told through different perspectives, jumping from Lucy to Charlie, and is a quick read, easily finished in a single night.
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonHow do you go on a road trip when you're afraid to drive? That's how Amy's trip starts out, being forced to take her mother's car from Connecticut all the way to California, and being partnered with a family friend, Roger. The two of them both have their own sets of problems, and on the open road, they find themselves mending one another.
Also, Roger's various playlists for the trip feature songs from The Format, Jack's Mannequin, New Found Glory, HelloGoodbye, Dashboard Confessional, The Rocket Summer, Quietdrive, Fall Out Boy, and Sherwood, which scores this novel extra points. Great music taste there, Matson. And oh my, there are just so many more. Feel free to sound off in the replies about your favorites!