Title: Grasshopper Jungle
Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Dutton Children's (Penguin)
Acquired Via: Publisher
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend, Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann.
Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.
Grasshopper Jungle is a weird book. I mean, it's strange enough to be stuck inside a teenage boy's head, but that really didn't have too much to do with the weirdness of the book. Giant insects taking over the world was different, too, but it's not really why I'm saying this. Grasshopper Jungle is a mindfuck of a book because of manner in which the end of the world is told to us.
The writing of Grasshopper Jungle is not bad by any stretch. It is the most uniquely written book that I've read in a while. Austin Szerba tells of the apocalypse in a very roundabout way, describing events that seemingly have nothing to do with what is going on in the story. The book is filled with these "coincidences", and the apocalypse does not even begin until about 30% of the way in to the book.
The first part of Grasshopper Jungle was used, instead, to show readers the complex relationship between Austin, his gay best friend Robby, and his girlfriend Shann. Austin has started questioning his sexuality because of his love for both Robby and Shann. He is conflicted by his fantasies of having a threesome with them. It may sound like a little much for a YA novel, the teenage years are when sexuality is explored. We get to see Austin sort through is feelings and discover himself in the face of the world ending.
The part of Grasshopper Jungle with the bugs is pretty gross, but definitely unique. How it began was most certainly strange, and the taking over of the bugs was a little more graphic than what I've seen in YA before. (Not a bad thing.) It made me think of a really campy B movie, which is a compliment. I was never tense or scared, but it was a fun ickfest.
Grasshopper Jungle is gross, weird, unique, and something that I think both teens and adults will love. I enjoyed the book thoroughly, and I will be reading Andrew Winger's past works.
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About the Author
Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and The Marbury Lens (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist). He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle, coming February 11, 2014, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
Thank you so much for posting! xReplyDelete
Thank you so much for putting together the tour! :-)Delete
I loved Andrew Smith's Winger and cannot wait for Grasshopper Jungle!ReplyDelete
I hope you enjoy Grasshopper Jungle as much as you did Winger! Thank you so much for stopping by!Delete
I am really looking forward to reading Grasshopper Jungle. I love that, in addition to having giant horrendously creepy bugs potentially taking over the world, the teenagers who are supposed to be solving this problem are also still addressing normal teenaged problems. For once, someone isn't afraid to admit that someone could actually be attracted to both his best friend who is male and his girlfriend and still be normal. Except for the creation of giant bugs, of course. That's a bit weird.ReplyDelete
It really WAS weird! However, I totally dug the honesty in which the relationship that Austin had with his friend and girlfriend was handled. I think you'll enjoy it.Delete
This appears to be a good yet unusual story. I appreciate the opportunity the giveaways offer. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Book sounds wonderfulReplyDelete
My mother is half-Polish and my father earned his entomology degree at Cal, so GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE ought to be right up my alley.ReplyDelete