By: David Arnold
# of pages: 352 (Kindle edition)
Challenges: Monthly Motif (vacation read)
Quote: “Maybe I could muster the courage to speak those words so few people are able to say: I don’t know why I do the things I do. It’s like that sometimes.”
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.
My review: I can’t adequately describe how much I love this book. I’ve given it a few days to soak in before writing a review, but I still don’t know exactly what to say. My reaction to this book reminded me of my reaction to Turtles All the Way Down. The main character, Mim, had a hard struggle with mental health issues in her past just like Aza struggles with her mental health in Turtles. Mim’s still learning to deal with her health as well as the divorce of her parents and her dad’s sudden remarriage.
She sets out on a journey from Mississippi to Ohio. Along the way she has all sorts of adventures and meets all sorts of interesting characters, both good and bad. Not only is Mim a beautiful character, but I loved many of the other characters. I also appreciate the way Mim is willing to admit when she’s wrong or change her opinion/perspective as needed. She’s witty and makes profound statements, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s “just” a teenager who still has more to learn.
While this is a great YA book, it does have some strong “bad language” if that’s a concern. Also, I found myself at times thinking how great it would be to just run away from responsibilities and go on a spontaneous road trip like Mim’s. It’s a little concerning to think that some people, especially younger teenagers, might actually consider doing that for real! Maybe not, maybe it’s just me that has that desire (I do relate to Mim in many ways), but if I gave this to my teen to read I’d make sure to have a little talk about the dangers of a teenager being on his/her own on a cross country trip. 😉
I do highly recommend this to adults and teenagers alike and I think there’s many more positive messages than negative throughout the novel. Also, I was initially leery of the book based on the cover. It seemed like one of those contemporary teen books that you see everywhere, but I was amazed at the depth of emotion and thought evident in the writing. It’s definitely worth giving it a chance.
Why I gave this book 5/5 stars: Great characters, entertaining story, important messages.