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Grasshopper Jungle Hardcover – February 11, 2014
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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 the first book I have read by Andrew Smith, so I cannot make a comment on his writing style in general, though if Grasshopper Jungle is in any way indicative of what to expect, I will definitely be reading his other work. The style in Grasshopper Jungle is reminiscent of a number of diverse and unconventional authors, from J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye to Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club with a good dose of Hunter S. Thompson mixed in for good measure. It's considered a Young Adult read, but it's so much more than that.
The story is told by Austin Szerba, a sixteen-year-old boy growing up in Ealing, Iowa, a small town that is slowly dying due to its main employer closing the factory and transferring all the jobs overseas. Austin's absolute best friend is a boy named Robby Brees, who happens to be gay. Austin's girlfriend is a girl named Shann Collins, whom he constantly dreams about having sex with. And Austin loves them both... and is feeling very, very confused. And as if this angsty teen triangle isn't enough for Austin to have to deal with, the world is coming to an end. Except that, as Austin says, "Nobody knew anything about it.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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My copy had some imperfections on the spine but it in no way impacted my enjoyment of the book, which was awesome A+++ best ever thank you Andrew Smith. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
This story. . . I have no idea what the heck was going on really haha. I guess it would be categorized as mature YA? Read morePublished 24 days ago by Toni H
Andrew Smith does it again with another exciting and unique YA novel.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This book was....strange. When I tried to explain the plot (giant preying mantises taking over the world, an underground bunker, sexually frustrated teenagers) to my husband, he... Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Houston
These are not three bad stars. They are three what the hell did I just read stars.
This book probably no sense to me whatsoever, but it didn't stop me from finishing it. Read more
If you enjoy stories that are weird, quirky and somewhat out of this world than this novel by Andrew Smith is for you. The odd plot and style of writing often left me thinking... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I was able to get a set of these books donated for my high school classroom. Of course, I wanted to read the novel first to make sure it was appropriate for the classroom. Read morePublished 3 months ago by fortune1265