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Grasshopper Jungle Hardcover – February 11, 2014
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More About the Author
Born with an impulse to travel, Smith, the son of an immigrant, bounced around the world and from job to job, working at various times in a metals mill, as a longshoreman unloading bananas from Central America and imported autos from Japan, in bars and liquor stores, in security, and as a musician, before settling down permanently in Southern California. Here, he got his first "real job," as a teacher in an alternative educational program for At-Risk teens, married, and moved to a rural mountain location. Throughout his life, Smith continued to write, but never considered seeking publication until challenged into it by lifelong friend, author Kelly Milner Halls.
In 2008, Smith published his first novel, Ghost Medicine, an ALA/YALSA "Best Books for Young Adults." This was followed in 2009 with In the Path of Falling Objects, also a BBYA recipient. The Marbury Lens is Smith's third novel, and will be followed in 2011 by Stick.
Smith prefers the seclusion of his rural setting, where he lives with his wife, 16-year-old son, 13-year-old daughter, two horses, three dogs, three cats, and one irritable lizard named Leo.
Top Customer Reviews
A word of warning: This book is not for those who are easily put off by foul language, topics such as homosexuality, drugs, and other controversial society issues and descriptive depictions of sex and gore. If I were to give this to a young adult to read, that young adult would have to have a good head on their shoulders.
That being said, I have a feeling that GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE will be a big book on the market after it is released. People will talk about this one. It will be so polarizing on many levels. People will either love it or hate it because of the subject matter involved, the way that it is written (in the voice of a very “real” 16 year old boy who is very confused about his place in the world) as well as the outcome of the story.
When it comes to GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, I fall more on the “love it” side of things. I love that the author holds back absolutely nothing in his writing. I love the sporadic way that the story is told; very frequently the plot is stalled so that the main character can refocus his thoughts and look back in history. While this slows things down a bit, it is necessary 1) in order for the reader to keep their sanity and 2) well, you see, Austin has a responsibility. It’s the end of the world, and his history may be the last history of mankind. So while these horrible mutant grasshoppers begin their attack on earth, we learn about Austin’s ancestors and their involvement in the overall scheme of things. We also learn about his town, those who mock Austin and his best friend Robby, and how they have shaped all things that are going down.Read more ›
This is a book featuring two 15-year-old boys who are best friends, cigarette demons, and kids prone to saying "Uh..." and "Um..." a lot. Robby is gay. Austin is confused. Shann, the all-Iowan girl next door, is Austin's love interest. While all that is going on, the world is ending. But of course.
Andrew Smith's Apocalypse Now is set in Ealing, Iowa, where a now-deceased scientist's mad experiments gain new life when thugs steal and drop a ball of glowing liquid that feeds on spilled blood (Robby's) and creates 6-foot-tall killer praying mantises. But of course. Robby and Austin discover an underground bunker from the 70s that unlocks a lot of secrets about these "Unstoppable Soldiers," as the mantises are called.
The strength of the novel lies in its plot, really. Praying mantises make wonderful "here-we-go-a-preying" mantises, and stopping them is no small task. Readers will get caught up in the action as humans go mano a buggo against the green beasties. But the characterization and voice are stellar, too. First-person Austin really gets you inside the head of a confused kid who has strong feelings for both his best friend and his girlfriend.
The one weakness may bother some readers more, others less, and still others not at all. Lots of repetition here. Like with the "Uh's..." and the "Um's..." and the "Unstoppable This's" and "Unstoppable That's." Oh. And certain favored profanities. The book reads like an Adam Sandler movie in its way, luxuriating in bathroom talk, sex talk, and swearing. What can I say -- one reader's real life is another reader's gratuitous. Fine for high school and up, but middle school libraries will wisely, um, take a pass.
There was a lot of buzz surrounding this book before its release. Two boys falling in love during a grasshopper apocalypse? What author could pull off such a bizarre story and make it good? The questions rumbled across the internet as the release date loomed further. One of my goals this year was to try and read more LGBTQ lit, and this book piqued my curiosity as well as helped me achieve my goal.
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.
3 Things You Need to Know:
1. You will love this book or hate it. No in-between. This book is so blatantly absurd, offensive, and sexual that it is a love it or hate it type of book. I rarely get offended in books and a few lines even made me raise my eyebrows. The “I don’t care” attitude that is heavy throughout the book is reflected in the male protagonist Austin. While Austin is a teenage boy, he is introspective to the point of selfishness and documents every minute of his life. You, as the reader, either love him or hate him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This one seems to me the least-good of Smith's impressive list, and I've read them all, but it gets a lot of good attention. Read morePublished 12 hours ago by ernest drown
What can I say about Grasshopper Jungle? I finished the book and just sat back for awhile wondering what the heck I just read. It was so weird and wacky and wonderful. Read morePublished 21 days ago by MomReaderShopperNJ
I understand what this book was going for in a literary sense. It tried to be "deep," using metaphors and intentionally shocking the reader to make points about sexuality,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by The T
I bought this book for my 16 year old's birthday. He read it in one day. I heard him laughing while he read it. Out loud. He stopped a few times to tell me how good it was. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Joss Mack
This book is one of my all-time favourites! I know (I KNOW) I will never read anything like it ever again, 'cause this is so freakin' epic it hurts my poor heart with its... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sara St. Sasha
Great book. Smith captures the confusion and obsession of adolescence brilliantly. His free wheeling writing is pretty amazing. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Derek Wheems
Very interesting book based on an odd premise. If you like zombie stories, you'll love it.Published 5 months ago by Kelly Simmons