Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
"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." -summary from Goodreads
This is my first Andrew Smith book, though I've heard wonderful things about his stuff in the past. But after hearing about this book for months prior to its release (seriously, like every book event I went to, someone was saying how awesome this book is), I decided that I needed to read this book and so signed up for the blog tour (which came with a fun T-shirt along with an ARC- yay!).
I read it pretty soon after I received my copy, right at the beginning of the year. It took me a little bit of time to get into it; the way Smith writes this book is very different from other YAs I've read. It's very stream-of-consciousness and there's a lot of repetitiveness and the word "horny" is used a LOT. I don't have a problem with that (or anything else in the book, in regards to language or whatever), but it did border between annoying and funny throughout the book.
I'm trying to figure out what to say about this book. I wasn't as taken in by it as many other people have been, though that doesn't mean I thought it was bad. It's a very good, interesting, thoughtful book and I think Smith does a wonderful job dealing with a variety of normal teenage issues alongside this sci-fi-like concept. I especially enjoyed the sexual orientation aspect of it, which I think a lot of teen boys will relate to and identify with; Smith handles this very well and it's a fantastic way of looking at the nature of sexuality. There's no judgment in this book, or urgency to figure things out; sometimes these things take a while to understand, but that doesn't mean there aren't consequences in the meantime. Smith writes Austin and his friends Robby and Shann realistically and with plenty of depth; the reader learns a lot about these characters and their backgrounds due to the introspective nature of the prose. Austin is constantly writing down the history of him and his friends, and pretty much almost anything else that comes across his mind too (as mentioned in the summary, there's a lot of his family's Polish history included too).
Overall, this is definitely a book to check out and one that deserves to be discussed openly. It's an honest, unflinching look into the life of a fairly normal teenage boy, despite the mutant praying mantises running about throughout the novel.
Courtesy of Penguin, I also have a giveaway! There's a hardcover copy of Grasshopper Jungle and an Unstoppable Corn t-shirt (which is awesome; I own one and love it!). The contest is open to US residents only and all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Friday, February 21 at 9pm EST and you'll be entered!
There's also a separate tour-wide giveaway too, which you can enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.