Tim C

8 Literary Characters to Bring With You On a Life-Changing Roadtrip*

*plus three not-really-YA-but-seriously-good characters all the same 

by David Arnold, author of Mosquitoland

Photo credit: Yuanvillanueva

Ed. Note: Summer is the season for hopping in the car and heading to whatever destination you choose, but who do you take along? We asked road trip novel MOSQUITOLAND author David Arnold to put together the optimal lineup of literary characters to bring on a life-changing roadtrip! 

Consider the hijinks! The conversation! The tears of laughter and joy! And the metaphors, my God, the metaphors! Without further ado, here is my fiction expedition, my Winnebago Dream Team. (Yeah. A Winnebago. What can I say. This ain’t your grandmother’s road trip. [Unless your grandmother drives a Winnebago, in which case it’s pretty much the same thing.]

1. Frankie Landau-Banks from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

When tasked with this post, this was the very first character I thought of. Our Winnebago operates outside the panopticon, off-grid, rumbling along into the great, wide unknown, boldly traveling where few have gone before. As such, I’m fairly certain Frankie is at the wheel.

2. Simon Spier from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

– Quick! Our road trip requires insane amounts of Oreos, contagious innocence, and grammatically correct emails, WHERE DO WE TURN???? It’s cool, guys. We’ve got Simon freaking Spier on Team Winnebago. All is well. (And delicious.)

3. Ali Brooks from When I WasThe Greatest by Jason Reynolds

Everyone needs an Ali in their lives—fiercely loyal to friends and family, fearless, and all kinds of clever. Should something go awry on our trip, Ali is the one to rally the troops and organize a plan.

4. Mia Hall from If I Stay by Gayle Forman 

Whether it’s a playlist or an old school mixtape, music is an integral part of all good road trips. But how many Winnebagos can boast the presence of a live cellist? (Don’t worry—there’s a kitchenette. Plenty of room for Mia to perform Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 to our hearts’ content.)

5. Ryan Dean West from Winger by Andrew Smith

Imagine this: a road trip. Now imagine this: a road trip with Ryan Dean West. S’better, yeah? An added dose of youthful enthusiasm, witty banter, and self-deprecating humor. Just what the doctor ordered.

6. Bodee Lennox from Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens 

Aka, the Blue-Haired Boy, Bodee is our Winnebago’s resident confidant and friend. When traversing the country, what could be more valuable than sage advice and a helping hand?

7. Lois Lane from Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Lois can try to fit in all she wants, but like any good reporter, she’s a rabble-rouser at heart. As our Winnebago’s cunning correspondent, you can bet whatever shenanigans we find ourselves in will be duly observed, documented, and published in the Daily Scoop.

8. Braden Raynor from Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

The moral compass of our trip—whether it’s talk of baseball or faith or families, Braden is always there to lend an ear. Also, should Team Winnebago ever break out into a spontaneous game of whiffle ball, I’m siding with Raynor.

9. Nate Foster from Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle 

No matter how stellar the trip, chances are there will be lulls. Enter Nate Foster –– slayer of boredom, dismantler of second-guessing, and our Winnebago’s thespian-in-residence, to restore the magic of the trip.

10. Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I think we can all agree that a road trip of this stature will most likely require a certain amount of unexpected bravery, vicious loyalty, perhaps a little volcanic climbing, and… taters. You know. Po-Tay-Toes?

11. Wade Watts from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

We are nothing, if not prepared. Team Winnebago travels armed with a disaster readiness scenario; should our road trip begin to sour—should Frankie and Simon and Ali and Mia and Ryan Dean and Bodee and Lois and Braden and Nate and Samwise cry in unison, We can’t take it anymore, turn this thing around!—Parcival can just log into the Oasis and push the red button.


Ready for your road trip? Start with a journey through the brilliant, convoluted, and hilarious mind of 16-year-old Mim Malone, who hops on a bus from Mississippi to Ohio and makes you wish the trip will never end in MOSQUITOLAND! 

Start reading MOSQUITOLAND

Buy your copy of MOSQUITOLAND

Follow David Arnold on Twitter

Khi danh tính được giấu đi, một trái tim thỏ đế cũng nhiều khả năng hóa thân thành sư tử.
—  Chuyện mạng ảo
A little reminder about Ponyboy Curtis:

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and just wanted to share.

Everyone in the fandom portrays pony as some shy, meek spirited wuss who is scared to stick up for himself or ask a girl out.

Let me just re-jog your memory of the time pony went out to get lunch with Steve and Two-bit, take a look at this quick excerpt from towards the end of the book.

// I was sitting on the fender of Steve’s car, smoking and drinking a Pepsi while he and Two-Bit were inside talking to some girls, when a car drove up and three Socs got out. I just sat there and looked at them and took another swallow of the Pepsi. I wasn’t scared. It was the oddest feeling in the world. I didn’t feel anything— scared, mad, or anything. Just zero.
“You’re the guy that killed Bob Sheldon,” one of them said. “And he was a friend of ours. We don’t like nobody killing our friends, especially greasers.”
Big deal. I busted the end off my bottle and held on to the neck and tossed away my cigarette “You get back into your car or you’ll get split.”
They looked kind of surprised, and one of them backed up.
“I mean it” I hopped off the car. “I’ve had about all I can take from you guys.” I started toward them, holding the bottle the way Tim Shepard holds a switch— out and away from myself, in a loose but firm hold. I guess they knew I meant business, because they got into their car and drove off.
“You really would have used that bottle, wouldn’t you?” Two-Bit had been watching from the store doorway. “Steve and me were backing you, but I guess we didn’t need to. You’d have really cut them up, huh?”
“I guess so,” I said with a sigh. I didn’t see what Two-Bit was sweating about— anyone else could have done the same thing and Two-Bit wouldn’t have thought about it twice.
“Ponyboy, listen, don’t get tough. You’re not like the rest of us and don’t try to be…”
What was the matter with Two-Bit? I knew as well as he did that if you got tough you didn’t get hurt. Get smart and nothing can touch you…
“What in the world are you doing?” Two-Bit’s voice broke into my thoughts.
I looked up at him. “Picking up the glass.”//

Pony says himself he doesn’t feel anything. No sympathy, no fear, nothing. Cold and empty. He doesn’t hesitate in busting the end off his bottle to fight off the socs and threaten them. Even after the fact two-bit realizes that pony was being tough.

Pony quotes what Dally told him after the rumble on the way to the hospital the night Johnny died. “Get tough and you won’t get hurt.”

I’m not ignoring the fact Pony began to pick up the glass afterwards, he didn’t want anyone to get a flat tire.

Another example:

//…remembering Tim Shepard’s kid brother. Curly, who was a tough, cool, hard-as-nails Tim in miniature, and I had once played chicken by holding our cigarette ends against each other’s fingers. We had stood there, clenching our teeth and grimacing, with sweat pouring down our faces and the smell of burning flesh making us sick, each refusing to holler…//

Let me remind you this is before Johnny died and Pony decided to “be tough” like Dally.

Pony wasn’t some super shy, awkward kid around Cherry either, he talked to her just fine. Didn’t hesitate to go up and get popcorn with her the night at the movies either.

Also, the night of the rumble he knew he was sick but sucked it up, took some aspirin and went anyways. He didn’t just sit around and get beat up during the rumble either. In the beginning he found the next best to a soc his size and ended up helping dally out by jumping on a soc’s back.

Sure, pony doesn’t go out deliberately looking for fights, but he does stick up for himself when need be. He’s not some baby. Remember, he is still a greaser. A no-good hood; with manners.


Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights Episode One: Pilot.
Gotta get up, little brother. Probably forty-nine players, right now, up and at ‘em. Right now. This minute. Forty-nine players on the move…Tim, they’ll kick you off the team. Yup. You’re a brother, don’t forget. Not a mother. You ain’t that good. Twice the player you ever was, man.

[ txt msg ] → max & tim
  • Tim:I put new locks on my window because it took less than two minutes for Damian to break in and sneak through my window. The thought occurred to me when I first moved in but I thought, 'Nah, this system's secure it took me over 30 mins to crack it'. I should have stuck with that gut feeling.
  • Tim:I'm really bad at initiating conversations if you couldn't tell.

LOOK3, Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville, Virginia, June 2015. The festival this year was an amazing experience. I’m really stoked to announce that my family and I are relocating to Charlottesville this summer where we will party like this all year long. Not really.  

Anh biết không, người con gái đôi khi chả cần gì hết. Họ chỉ cần là một phần trong trái tim ai đó.

Được thừa nhận và công khai với tất cả mọi người rằng họ yêu ai đó rất nhiều.

Vì em muốn là thế giới của Anh.Muốn mọi người ganh tị với thế giới của chúng ta.

Anh biết không?

- Chắc anh không.