Hello there! I wanted to celebrate the release of this lovely book with a review. David Arnold is a lovely author, and his debut novel Mosquitoland (review) completely took me in. I recommend it to practically everyone I come across. It is one of my all-time favorite books, and I’m so excited that he’s releasing more books.
Here’s what you might want to know about the book:
The bestselling author of Mosquitoland brings us another batch of unforgettable characters in this tragicomedy about first love and devastating loss.
Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.
This is a story about:
1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release date: 20 September 2016
Edition: Hardcover, USA Page #: 352
My rating: 5/5 stars
What a unique story. I wouldn’t say this book is too realistic in it’s plot per se, but it definitely conveys many things that are relatable. I love David Arnold. He is hands down one of my favorite authors, and I am seriously so excited to see where he goes with his writing.
The main story focuses on Bruno Victor Benucci III who is known as Vic. Vic has a hard time physically expressing himself because he has Moebius syndrome. This disease inhibits one’s body in forms of paralysis, and for Vic it’s his face. He has to thoroughly think through what he is feeling and verbally convey it if he wants others to know how he is feeling. This poses an interesting theme of communication throughout the book, and how people are able to connect with each other.
I love the idea of fulfilling someone’s dying wish. I think it’s something that I would want someone to do for me, and I’m glad Vic does this for his dad. It’s a way for both the person who has passed away and the living to have some sort of closure. His adventure in completing his father’s list is something I loved.
The cast of characters in this story is amazing. Coco is one of my motherfrakking favorites. She is spunky and isn’t afraid to be direct with people. She has learned how to listen to people in a way that makes them at ease. Though she may be (very) nosy, she means well and I love how protective she is of Mad, Baz, and Zuz. Her obsession with frozen dairy products makes my life. I love them just as much as she does, and I appreciate it. Frak yeah.
The story’s format is different, and after reading the first chapter or two I really started to understand it. I like how it contributes to the story as a whole. I also love how the interviews preface what’s to come later in the chapter. I think it’s clever the way Arnold wrote this story.
Overall I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads. I don’t love it as much as Mosquitoland but I did enjoy reading this book. I hope this helped!