Sunday, February 16, 2014

Grasshopper Jungle: By Andrew Smith



In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend, Robby, have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.

This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.

I think the first and most fitting thing to write in a review about Grasshopper Jungle is that I have never read a book like this before. I don’t say that lightly either. I’ve read hundreds of YA books, and thousands of science fiction and fantasy books, and I can honestly say I’ve never read anything quite like Grasshopper Jungle.

Grasshopper Jungle is one part coming of age/confused sexuality YA, one part end of the world horror story, all rounded out with countless non sequitur that somehow connect to the story in a somewhat meandering and plodding path.

To say this was an odd book would be an understatement. To say this was a bad book would be wrong. No, this was a book that kept me fascinated from the first page, as well as kept me guessing. I think that’s one of the strangest things about this book, the way that Andrew Smith arranges all of these seemingly conflicting story lines into a book that is able to not only able to hold them all in without bursting but also thrives amongst these jarring plots.

While only some of the characters are deep, all of them are true. The statements, analogies, stories, and histories that Smith weaves through his protagonist, Austin, are a strange combination of enlightenment, truth, hormones, and profanity. Through these discoveries on the human condition as well as personal discoveries by the protagonist, readers will reminisce and relate to many of the thoughts and feelings that Austin waxes on about.

All in all, I think most people might be scared off by this book. And that’s fine, this book is not for everyone. What it is though is a book that evokes emotion, captivates the reader, and will leave the reader sitting dumbfounded at the end both wanting to know both more and less all at the same time. I can’t say for certain that others will enjoy this book but I believe that I can say that I did, and that was enough for me.


Publisher: Dutton Children's 

Published: February 11, 2014

Price: $18.99

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