Started: June 5, 2016
Finished: June 12, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Summary (from Goodreads): After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland. So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
I went back and forth several times on whether I wanted to give this book four stars or five because I really, really liked it, but I don’t think I loved it.
This book was right up my alley in terms of content and story. I love a main character who doesn’t really know what’s going inside her own head, and I also love a story that involves an eccentric cast of characters.
The characters themselves were fun and interesting. I wanted to know more about them throughout the novel, even when some of them had left the story. Their eccentricities made them exciting.
Mim was my favorite, which is a big change for me because main characters are hardly ever my favorite character. She was a smart, funny, enjoyable character and my heart broke over her relationship with her father. I couldn’t really relate to her as much as I wanted to, but I can definitely see how Mim would be relatable to people.
The story was wonderfully told, and I loved David Arnold’s writing. I plan to read his other novel, Kids of Appetite, when it’s released. His writing moved the story along quickly, and it didn’t really drag for me at any point. It kept me in suspense throughout the book (I never once guessed one of the plot points), and I loved it.
The thing that I really, really loved about it was the portrayal of mental illness. I love books that show a good portrayal of mental illness, as talked about when I reviewed All the Bright Places (here). I think that young adult literature about mental illness is often lacking something that makes it a good portrayal, and this one wasn’t lacking much. It was a different choice of a mental illness to portray, but I think that choice made the story much better. I’m very satisfied with the way Arnold portrayed Mim’s mental illness (which I believe she does have, even if it was left open-ended), and I think it’s one of the better portrayals in YA literature.
Even though I don’t really have a complaint about this novel, I don’t think I can give it five stars because while it was a great read that I really enjoyed and will probably reread, I don’t think it’s going to be one that I think about for days after I finish it. It just didn’t resonate with me as much, and that is why I can only give it four stars.
All in all, I really liked this novel, and I look forward to reading more of David Arnold’s writing when his next novel is released. I enjoyed it a lot, and I would highly recommend this book to everyone who wants a contemporary read that’s a little bit different than others.
NEXT READ: Identical by Ellen Hopkins