Published by Dutton on 11 February 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Friendship, GLBT, Monsters, Sci-Fi, Survival Stories, Young Adult
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Place(s) Traveled To: Ealing, Iowa // Waterloo, Iowa
First Line(s): I read somewhere that human beings are genetically predisposed to record history. We believe it will prevent us from doing stupid things in the future.
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is one of those books that has been receiving a lot of buzz. All of it good and full of praise, awe and amazement at how unique and wonderful this book is. And while it was certainly a unique story its did resonate with me as it has with most other people I know. For me, this story started off slowly and the whole thing was too much time spent in a teenage boys head. While Austin Szerba was a believable teenage book who is confused about life, and girls and even his own sexuality. He just wasn’t as entertaining as Will Carter from the Brent Crawford’s Carter series.
I often found myself rolling my eyes as I read Grasshopper Jungle I could see things happening long before they did all while the characters always seemed to be surprised and shocked when they did. There is also much in this story that could have been avoided if Austin and his pal Robbie just told people what they knew. Instead they kept secrets and the world ended and yeah.
One thing I did like about this book is how it was the start of a dystopian world. You get to know the hows and whys the world ended and its not generations later where no one knows and everyone just accepts and then marvels when they find something from before the time when the world went to sh!t. Here is a case of how the world was fine and then it was not and the reader got to see it all unfold. No matter how ridiculous the whole thing was.
I also liked how Austin dealt with his confused feelings for his girlfriend Shann and his best friend Robbie. Both who made him horny but then everything seemed to have that effect on him because, hello, teenage boy. I liked how Austin just seemed to accept his feelings for both of his friends and wasn’t afraid to explore what that meant. In fact, I often preferred a pairing of Robbie and Austin over Shann and Austin as they just seemed more natural and comfortable with each other. Shann and Austin were just always so awkward.
As a whole Grasshopper Jungle wasn’t for me but I did like Smith’s creativity in telling a story. His writing style was unique and I will probably check out other books that he’s written. I just hope that I like them more than this one.
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 is stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann.Ultimately, it is 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.
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.
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.