Author: Andrew Smith
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBT
Publication Date: February 11th, 2014
Source: PenguinTeen/Dutton Juvenile for review
Format: Physical ARC
Summary from Goodreads: 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.
Review: Grasshopper Jungle is one of those books where half of the bookish community hates it and where the other half completely loves it. I suppose I am on the "love it side." Although there were some flaws, Grasshopper Jungle really was a "dynamo" of a novel.
One thing I want to say before I give Grasshopper Jungle a proper review, is that there is just way. too. much concentration on the LGBT aspect (in reader's minds, not in the novel). The one thing that I have seen people say when asked about Grasshopper Jungle, is LGBT. And while yes, that is a major factor in this book, it is only a small portion compared to oh, I don't know. The end of the world perhaps? And when I hear people talk about ONLY the LGBT aspect, I get annoyed.
So just know, dear readers, that if you choose to read Grasshopper Jungle, it is NOT just about two gay boys.
Characters: Andrew Smith has created some really unique and just downright WEIRD characters with Grasshopper Jungle. I have a feeling that these are some characters a reader will not be able to forget easily. Austin was a confused boy. He was confused about his feelings for his best friend Robby, and his girlfriend Shann. He was a "horny and sexually aroused boy." My feelings about this main character are muddled. Austin wasn't exactly made to be likable, but at the same time, you just couldn't hate him either.
Storyline/Plot: Andrew Smith is probably the master of WEIRD and CRAZY plots. And yes, if you have seen tweets about #UnstoppableCorn around Twitter, this is the book it belongs to. The eccentric and sometimes downright outlandish story line was pretty entertaining and easy to keep up with, except for the scenes toward the very end, which kind of came to a mundane level. I ended up skimming the last couple of chapters, and felt a lack of enthusiasm as the scenes began to stretch out and the characters began to muddle in my mind.
Writing: I would definitely recommend this book for mature teens. There is a lot of swearing, mentions of sex and sexual profanity. There are a lot of generally gross scenes. Andrew Smith really held NOTHING back when it came to Grasshopper Jungle. For the most part, I think this really worked. It worked in the sense that it gave Grasshopper Jungle this feeling of sarcasm and obscene humor that was both refreshing and intimidating at the same time. For someone to read this, I think it is important that they have a sense of what they are about to read. As for the LGBT aspect, kudos to Andrew Smith for being able to capture it in a semi-normal and dignified way, in contrast to the queerness of the rest of the novel.
Conclusion: Grasshopper Jungle is certainly a coming-of-age novel that tells a hilarious tale of sexuality and giant insects. Through my mixed feelings for this novel, ultimately, I ended up really appreciating Grasshopper Jungle's ingenuity and spirit.
So what do you guys think? Have you read Grasshopper Jungle? Will you read Grasshopper Jungle? Leave me some comments! <3