Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

23281636Published: February 15th 2015 by: Speak (first published 2014)

Genres: YA, Apocalyptic, Sci-fi, LGBTQ, Coming-of-Age

Format: Paperback Source: Won

My Rating: 4.5 STARS (1)

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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.
Funny, intense, complex, and brave,Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from testicle-dissolving genetically modified corn to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America in this groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner.



This book hurt my brain. Not in a bad way, of course. The narrative is very complex, but it all comes together in a fitting way for this tale. Forget what you think this book is about. I went into it, somewhat, blindly. I had this strange picture in my mind of some giant insects (and that part is true), but I had no idea I would be in for a crazy ride. I fear roller coasters, snakes, spiders even. I now fear the world in this book. Crazy weird doesn’t even begin to describe this. Apocalyptic aspects aside, the narrator is one of the most peculiar protagonists I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. I was gripped from the very first page. 

Austin is your average teen boy. He’s horny ALL THE TIME! Seriously, every other thought is about having sex with his girlfriend, Shann, in the back of his gay best friend’s dirty car. Thinking about going into a dark room makes this dude horny. After I got used to his voice, the story took off. Not at a fast pace, but things started to take shape and there was no going back. Robby and Austin have this friendship. Robby, obviously likes boys. Austin is having some sort of sexual identity crisis after kissing Robby. And liking it. At this point in the story, I’m groaning. Not because of Austin’s sexuality dilemma, but because I was dreading the back and forth that was sure to come. I think forcing someone to choose between a boy or a girl is wrong. I do, however, think that a person who is in Austin’s position needs to be with someone who doesn’t care about his bisexuality. That said, I didn’t really like the way that Austin strung Shann along. Even after all that they went through, Austin was still undecided about a lot of things. I kind of felt bad for Shann, being stuck in this world with Austin. I won’t spoil where they all end up, but it just seemed kind of wrong to me. Then again, they had bigger problems than worrying about relationships. Like, staying alive! 

This is like some kind of drug-induced dream, right here. I like the originality of the story and I don’t think I’ll ever read something this mind-boggling again. Unless, of course, Smith decides to hit us again with this craziness. There’s lots of horny thoughts, talks of balls, giant insects, pizza, historic accounts, and lots of cigarette smoking. I can’t really explain this any more without spoiling. If you want to get mind-f***ed, go right ahead and grab this book. You will end this book and question what it is that you just read. I did. I think all authors are creative in their own right. Andrew Smith is on a whole other level than most, and I’m eager to grab his back list titles. I think if Shann hadn’t been in the picture, I could have really got behind Austin and Robby together. But…she was and it was tiring when Austin just wanted both of them. Then again, it did make this whole story even more intense. Grasshopper Jungle is not like any book I’ve ever read. I highly recommend this if you are into the strange. It has the strange.

13 thoughts on “Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

  1. This sounds like a really unique and maybe a bit of a bizarre kind of novel as well. I think it would take me a little while to get used to the narrative being so sex based, but other than that you have me intrigued because it just sounds so unlike anything I have ever read before. I also really like the sound of this one being about relationships too, although the conclusion between the lot of them doesn’t sound so promising…


  2. OMG. . WTHHHHH?? THAT FREAKING COVER! I couldn’t even look at it for too long because it just freaked me the freak out… But I’m kind of in theold oddly enough to be creeped out?? I’m kinda in the mood to try this book out. 😉


  3. I just recently heard about this one, how cool that I see a review today! Weirdness is not usually my cup of tea, especially when it comes to surreal situations that are compared to being drug-induced, but it does sound tempting!


  4. Lol. I was wary of this book because the premise was campy, I thought. I did hope the monstrous infestation was only a metaphor of something else when I first heard of this book. So it sounds like I might be on the right track.


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