Mock Printz 2022 discussion

Mosquitoland
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Mock Printz 2016 > Mosquitoland by David Arnold

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Jenna Friebel (jenna_friebel) | 86 comments It's May! The winner of our poll for this month's read is Mosquitoland by David Arnold. This debut novel received starred reviews from PW, Kirkus, and Booklist. However, there has been backlash among some bloggers and librarians because of perceived stereotypical/ inaccurate content related to Native people. What did you think were the pros and cons of this book? Do you think it's worthy of a Printz?


Jenna Friebel (jenna_friebel) | 86 comments Among my network of friends and librarians, the attitudes towards this book seem to be polar opposites- love it or hate it. I felt pretty neutral. My 4 stars is more of a 3.5 (I'm a pretty generous star giver). I listened to this book on audio as soon as it was released. And maybe that's part of the problem. I think the audio can make or break a book and this audio just didn't entirely work for me. I was intrigued by Mim, there was some pretty writing, and I appreciated many of the side characters... but ultimately, I'm struggling to review this because I don't really remember it very well. And it was only 2 months ago that I listened to it. As far as the backlash, I didn't pick up on anything problematic while listening, but I'm also far from expert on Native culture. It's been interesting to read why some find it problematic but also to read why the author included it and stands by it. I'm remaining neutral about this book and about its backlash. I'm Switzerland. I'd love to read your thoughts- especially if you're someone who felt strongly about this book one way or the other.


message 3: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim B. (weirdmoviefan) I read this book the day it came out (after wanting it for months) and loved it. I felt that the characterization was very strong, the writing was crisp and smart, and the pacing was nearly perfect. At the same time, it's very important to note the problematic aspects-- the SLJ review has a pretty good rundown of the iffy content. I didn't mind it, as I chalked it up to Mim being an unreliable narrator and very obviously NOT a role model, but I completely understand where those who were bothered by some of the content (cultural appropriation, Walt's role in the story, the anti-medication issues) were coming from. I could go on and on, but overall as much as I love this book I think that the troubling aspects will probably turn a lot of people off and sink its award chances. Still, I really love this book and think it'll speak to a lot of people.


Jenni Frencham (jennifrencham) I think this is the year of the YA book about mental illness. I just finished Challenger Deep, then I read this one, and now I'm reading Backlash (MC suffers from depression).

It is HARD to read a book where the reader is inside the head of a person suffering from a mental illness. I'm assuming it's also hard to write such a book.

As for Mosquitoland, I did not like this book. I didn't hate it to the same level that I hated The White Darkness, but I definitely read it as a "must read for professional development" rather than a "want to read because I'm enjoying it" kind of book. I did not identify with or sympathize with the main character at all, outside of the obvious controversy regarding the use of Native terminology, etc. There are readers for this book, but I am not one of them.


Bang Bang Books I thought it was okay; I gave it a 4. I felt like the Mim character was uneven. She had these existential theories on life but, "He's so hot" was all she could muster to describe her feelings for Beck? I did like that she spoke her mind.

I also felt that the very serious issues with Poncho man was not addressed properly. And I felt that the entire book was her getting to her mother yet her time with her was like one short chapter. I'm still not sure why her mother was in that place.

As far as the Native stuff, I didn't notice until it was brought up.

I thought it was a good discussion book for teens but I don't think it will be an honoree.


Maureen (mhsquier) | 79 comments I also listened to the audiobook about two months ago, and although I enjoyed listening to it at the time, I am having a hard time remembering much about it. Although I think the book has merits, when you look at the war paint controversy, I don't think this will make the Printz list.


Emily (emdoux) | 5 comments Scrolling past the other posts because I'm not finished yet -- but if anyone is on yalsa-bk, there's been an interesting thread this week there about this book and whether or not it should be booktalked to end-of-year sixth graders. Only a quarter through myself, I don't want to speculate yet (though right now I'm thinking I'd give it to a good end of year sixth grader, maybe). Just thought I'd sort of tie the two discussions together.


Mary HD (marymaclan) | 82 comments I liked this book. The plot's derivative, but the feisty main character had a cranky charm that kept me turning the pages. Not much narrative suspense, beyond wondering whether Mim's independent attitude was a sign of strength or a symptom of illness. What I liked best was Mim's idiosyncratic take on family and friends and mere acquaintances; you hang with her, you won't be bored. I think Arnold's writing style might possibly earn him some Printz attention.


message 9: by Czechgirl (last edited Jun 07, 2015 10:30AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Czechgirl I just finished this book. I read it because of the rave reviews it got on Twitter; however, while reading the book, I was thinking, "Am I missing something?" I only thought the book was okay. It took me the whole week to complete it. I didn't want to abandon it because the basic storyline was good, but really the book also at the same time just wasn't appealing to me. Maybe it was Mim and her decisions, ie abandoning her bus trip midway through the story when her whole goal was to get to her mother's house. Maybe it was because I felt some parts of the book were incomplete--i.e. Poncho Man, feeling so close to Beck in a short amount of time. I was kind of glad to see some others feeling the same way I did about the book.


message 10: by Diane (new)

Diane | 10 comments I missed the "something" as well. But I'm glad that it's connecting with so many readers. Maybe that's more important than a literary award, in some respects.


Meghanly | 6 comments So I ma still on the waiting list for this at the library... LOL! It may be my June read!


message 12: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne (headfullofbooks) | 80 comments I am in the camp of loving this book. The unreliable narrator, the cast of quirky characters, the growth of the main character and the insights we gain into the family. I will be very interested to see what my students think of it. This is definitely the year of Mental Illness-themed books. Challenger Deep is better but different. I also liked The Unlikely Hero of Room 13-B. I have to remind myself that I am not a teenager and these books need to speak to them, not me.


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