There are these books that get me on so many levels. I think it's when great writing intersects with a great story and a great character and then they all roll together through that something special that nabs my heart from the get-go.
And that's what David Arnold did to me with his first novel, Mosquitoland. Nabbed my heart from the get-go. I think it was Mim's voice.
As I said in the header...I. Love. This. Book.
For me this is right up there with Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. Which I adored. It left me with the same feeling. I finished it a few days a go and I miss Mary Iris Malone (aka: Mim, true heroine) terribly. I wish she lived next door. I imagine sitting on a front porch swing with her. Rocking and sipping lemonade while we talk about life.
Yes, I sometimes do this with fictional characters. Ones that are so well drawn that I imagine them real...and, apparently, sharing beverages with me.
What makes this book even better is that I didn't pick it out for myself. I love that I, literally, found this book on my doorstep.
For Mother's Day this year my husband got me a subscriptions to Brilliant Books Monthly. Each month, the lovely folks at Brilliant Books hand pick a book just for me and mail it to me. Isn't that the most brilliant thing ever for a bibliophile?
My husband knows me well.
So what's this Brilliant Books? It's an independent bookseller in Traverse City, Michigan...one of my favorite places on earth. My husband and I were married at a nearby vineyard and have been visiting the area every summer since then. And every summer I spend a few hours in Brilliant Books. Always leaving with a stack of books and a smile.
It's like a pilgrimage to the motherland for me. It's been my dream for a long, long time to have my own little bookshop. Maybe someday. If we lived in Traverse City I would at least work there part time...for the discount and the company. Oh, to talk books all day! Anyway...
After last year's visit I began following their children/YA lit specialist's book blog, The Hiding Spot (which I love...you can find it here: http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com). That's where I first heard of Mosquitoland. I had added it to my To-Read List after reading Sara's write-up on it, but hadn't gotten around to picking it up.
Then the folks at Brilliant Books read my mind. Love that.
So back to the book...
I really don't want to tell you anything about what the story is about. (And that's not just because I don't like writing blurbs.) I just want you to get it, blind, and start reading. Don't even read the book jacket blurb. Just dive in. That's my favorite way to start a book. No preconceived ideas. Just immersion in someone else's world.
Just do it. As a favor to me.
I will tell you this about the book: You'll find it in the Young Adult section. It's a realistic, present day story...no dystopia. The main character is Mary Iris Malone. She is 16. Her voice is unique and unforgettable. And she takes a journey.
That's all you need.
Until next time, happy reading!
P.S. You can find more information about Brilliant Books Monthly here: http://www.brilliant-books.net It makes a wonderful gift for a booklover that you love. And if you just want to support independent booksellers, Brilliant Books ships anywhere for free. :-)