Grasshopper Jungle

Grasshopper Jungle

by Andrew Smith
4.2 13

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Grasshopper Jungle 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't want to seem too hyperbolic, but this might be the best YA novel I've ever read. For what seems like the first time in YA history, we're presented with a narrator who most definitely is a sixteen-year-old boy, hypersexuality and all. I could praise the book for its balls-to-the-wall sci-fi horror action, for its nuanced and surprisingly accurate treatment of bisexuality, for its slipstreaming writing style that takes it from one end of history to the other, but instead I'll praise it for taking risks and being brave and honest in a publishing culture that seems to strive for homogeneity. Read this freaking book.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars. Austin a.k.a Porcupine and Robby are 10th graders at Curtis Cane Lutheran Academy. These two are so different from one another which make their friendship so great and unique. Robby has a car, his mother buys him cigarettes and he is also a homosexual. Austin feels disconnected from his parents, he has a girlfriend and yet he is uncertain about his sexuality. The boys at the high school like to pick on them and after an altercation, Austin and Robby’s skateboards and shoes are now on top of the Pancake House at the dwindling Ealing Mall. After closing, the boys decide to get their things and while they are up on the roof, they locate a trapdoor to the Attic to Stellar Consignment Shop. Temptation strikes! The boys make their way into the closed shop. Being familiar with this store, Austin shows Robby the highlights but the real showcase is the owner’s private office. Being new territory for both the boys, the office is like a freak show. Strange and intriguing items line the office shelves and just as the boys are getting familiar with these items, they hear voices. The same high school boys who had the perfect aim with their boards and shoes are now inside the shop. Austin and Robby hide while the older boys check out the office and they stop at the same glass-sealed globe that had Austin and Robby’s attention just a few minutes ago. The world would have been a better and quieter place had the boys learned and followed the manners someone should have taught them about leaving things alone that do not belong to them but in this case, the town of Ealing will never be the same. As the amount of victims count starts to rise, no one seems to know what is happening; the world is oblivious to what is occurring in Iowa. Austin, a history recorder, has another event for the books as these six-legged, sex-crazed bugs hatch out of the citizens of his small town. It was definitely a fun, crazy read. I really enjoyed the plot as the three friends tried to handle the crisis together while their town was falling apart. Austin and Robby had a great friendship and I liked that they were totally different in a lot of distinct ways, they complimented each other. The story moves in a fast pace and I didn’t want to put the book down until I had finished the last page. Austin was so confused about his sexuality and both Robby and his girlfriend Shann knew this. Sex was talked about a lot in this book as they both pondered issues dealing with their sexuality, both in a serious and a light tone. Austin was so serious about recording history and he wanted to get things down so people in the future would not forget. There were times when I was reading that I was getting frustrated as the words kept repeating themselves. I don’t mind reading someone twice but after reading something three times and I was ready to scream, “I know this already, move on!” The author liked to poke fun of the people of Iowa and being from Iowa, some of them were funny. Don’t get me wrong, just because I am from the state does not make me upset about these but I think there were too many of them. Just like the repeated information, I felt this line was repeated and it lost its effect. “Food descriptions work well in Iowa, women in Iowa wear them (hairnets), in Iowa, there are cameras trained on corn, people in Iowa like to bowl.” These are just a few of the many punches Andrew had and I had to laugh at some of them but others, they just lost their effect. Lots of imagination going on in this book, it’s quirky, great sci-fi and it will definitely make you smile. For mature readers only as the language and subject matter is strong. Thank you Goodreads and the publisher for this copy. I was a First-Reads winner of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book with one of my grandchildren in mind. When I choose books for my grands, I read them first and try to imagine whether or not the parental units will approve. This book probably has no literary merit at all, but I give it five stars based on how I felt as I read it. It's a romp into the thoughts of a teenaged boy and his meshing of his fantasies with real life. Just imagine six-feet tall praying mantises,an underground place that was once a lab in which an experiment went wrong, the typical signs of teenage angst, questions of sexuality. A lot of F bombs, but remember we're looking through the boy's eyes. You can read better reviews at numerous sites, so I chose to leave that to them. My recommendation is to read this. What a hoot!
ArizonaFlame More than 1 year ago
GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, Andrew Smith-ISBN 978-0525426035 The end of time waltzes in like the biblical plague of locusts. What once was a soothing sound while sleeping under the stars and a favored bug of child’s play has evolved into a nightmare that doesn’t go away when awake. This once controlled insect seems to have taken human form and it is no longer satisfied eating plant life, with its prehistoric, futuristic, dinosaur, bugman looks and actions it will not be long before the world dies as these things feast on man. A couple of teens take it upon themselves to trace the origins of this new beast. Can it be destroyed? Perhaps the kids will be destroyed. As crazy as this dino-manbug sounds (my words, not the authors) the author balances humor with nature and fear very well and creates a very interesting world.
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
This story. . . I have no idea what the heck was going on really haha. I guess it would be categorized as mature YA? It’s definitely teen characters, and I think it’s speaking to a teen audience. It’s not regular YA because has ample cussing and sex talk throughout as well as some drug use and actual sex scenes. It’s sort of about topics that really are in teens’ heads like sexual orientation, having sex, parents taking nerve pills, bullies, etc. It’s also a crazy mix of fantasy, coming of age, sci-fi, apocalypse, with a bit of horror, dark comedy, teen angst and a little dystopia thrown in. It’s definitely a story I won’t soon forget.
LovelyChand More than 1 year ago
"Grasshopper Jungle" by Andrew Smith is a story I enjoyed for the writing style rather than for the plot. Originally, I picked the book up because it was recommended by a teacher for an optional summer reading assignment. Being an avid reader, I dove into the book eagerly, but almost immediately recoiled. The inappropriate, very teenager-esque word choice and events were an unexpected surprise that I didn't find too appealing. When I read the summary and reviews, I expected an exciting, action-filled, adrenaline-provoking thriller. Such stories are not exactly my favourite genre, but I still enjoy reading them. What I did not expect is a slow, realistic read about a teenage boy questioning his sexuality and romances. The slow build-up of action was apparent, but too lethargic to actually interest me. Only about 100 pages in, I decided to do something I've never done in my time as a reader: I put the book down. The book was completely against my expectations and taste, regardless of how open-minded I can be. Eventually, though, my curiosity of the resolution overpowered my distaste, causing me to continue reading. By the end, I was glad I did finish the story. The first portion of the story preceding the climax was dreadfully disappointing, but the climax and action proceeding it later made up up for it. Though I did not completely enjoy the story's plot, I did appreciate the author's style of writing. The narration of the story fit perfectly to how a teenage boy's mind works, completely out of order and sense at first glance, when even the minute details all connect to create a bigger picture. As an incoming high school reader, I would reluctantly but soon surely recommend this book to another high school reader. Though the plot isn't my style, it seems to be appealing enough in the perspective of the average teenager. Overall, I most enjoyed how the writing style fit how a teenage boy's mind thinks, making Austin's narration even more realistic. Considering my dislike of the plot and my appreciation for the writing style, I would rate "Grasshopper Jungle" three out of five stars, but I would definitely recommend it to any open-minded reader mature enough for such language and scenes, regardless of being a teenager in high school.
Chancie More than 1 year ago
It was a decent read, but I don't think it was amazing or memorable by any means. Maybe part of the problem is that I have absolutely nothing to connect with the main character about, but that's on me, not the book. Still looking forward to grabbing Andrew Smith's other books, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are three different kinds of books in the world. The first one is the book everyone wants to read. These are the books that you stay up until two am reading, the books that take only two days to finish. Usually, these are what make the Bestseller lists, top ten reads, and are what all the hype is about. The second one is your just plain boring books. They have no structure, plot, or anything that makes you interested in them at all. These should be avoided at all costs. The final one is the rarest, and probably my favorite. These are the books that make you really think. They usually tackle heavy themes that take a while to consume. They win the all the awards. Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith is that third book. There is no other way to describe Grasshopper Jungle. I am at a loss of words to describe this book. Since the beginning of the book, Austin Szerba, a polish boy has been retelling his history, teaching us one main thing: all paths collide.  It is a very confusing history, but ends up leading to the creation of the 412E plague. The 412E plague turns people into two things: a six foot tall unstoppable grasshopper soldier, or six foot tall unstoppable grasshopper soldier food. And this plague was finally contained into glass globes, until Austin, and his best friend, Robby Brees, somehow manage to release it. The main part of the book that really made me think was the constant confusion Austin was in. And the cause of the confusion was the questioning of his sexuality. It was clear Austin was going through a constant struggle, and he finally decided it was best to not decide if he was gay or straight. Because in life, sometimes it is better to decide to not decide. The multiple themes represented in the book seem like they wouldn’t work together, but somehow did. The storytelling was a unique style that was very intriguing. It considered what all the characters were doing at certain points in time, instead of just the two main ones. The ideas in the story were very different, unlike any I have seen before, but were still familiar in an odd way. The writing captured ideas that I feel many adults may not understand well. All teenagers should be required to read the book, because it is relatable. I may not be a sixteen year old boy questioning my sexuality, but just the confusion that came from not knowing certain things is something that many people, including myself, can relate to. 5 stars, all the way.  This review does not give Grasshopper Jungle justice, and I don’t know if anything can. This may be the bravest story I have read, and again, it leaves me speechless.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
This is more a critical analysis than a review and is therefore littered with spoilers of varying degrees. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (2014). By this point, Grasshopper Jungle needs no introduction having already swept up a variety of accolades including wide critical acclaim, starred reviews, a movie option as well as winning the Boston Globe-Horne Book Award. It is the bright green book that could and has helped mark a well-deserved turning point in Smith's literary career as he joins the ranks of current hot authors. It is a madcap, diverse, clever book that blends genres, time periods and story lines. Grasshopper Jungle is also one of those books where I can see all of the things Smith is doing that are clever and smart but I don't particularly care for or appreciate any of them on a personal level because I am too busy deeply not enjoying it. The diversity here and Austin being refreshingly whoever the hell he wants to be is great and much needed. But at the same time Austin (and his friends) are painfully careless. Like Tom and Daisy Buchanan, they are careless people. Yes Austin is embraced and beloved while Daisy (and Tom as well) is cast as a vapid villain. Which is part of why, for me, it became impossible to talk about or even think about this book without also considering the matter of gender. Would a girl ever get away with being this careless while also being beloved by readers? Would a girl get to act like this and we would all say "oh I guess this is just a realistic description of a teenaged girl in all her hyper-sexualized and self-absorbed glory"? I doubt that very much. Austin walking through life doing whatever he wants (to the point of ending the world) without any consequences to his person is a constant throughout the novel. Even at the very end, after ending the world, Austin and Robby are driving away and accidentally run over a little boy. But the little boy is also a grasshopper monster, so it's okay. No consequences. If this book were narrated by a girl instead of by Austin, this would have been an entirely different story. I could be wrong or unfair to think this, but I feel safe saying that if this book were narrated by a girl all anyone would be saying is that she is a self-obsessed bitch with no depth. I don't think it would have even lasted long enough in anyone's mind to be garnering acclaim and literary awards. (Similarly I feel like if this were a female author it would have been dismissed out of hand as too genre but that is a totally different matter.) There is a lot to like about Grasshopper Jungle. I liked the friendship. I liked that we saw how the world ends.I never found myself particularly dazzled by the writing which from what I can tell is reminiscent of the voice Smith adopts in every novel (which is problematic here since there is no authorly narrator but a first person one). I never much cared about Austin or Robby or Shann as characters. More frustrating, for me, was the fact that Shann and other women in the novel barely were characters as they spent most of the novel sidelined. It's highly likely that the routine marginalization or objectification of the female characters was unintentional. But that doesn't change the fact that it still means something. It still counts. The ideas Smith raises about "history" and "truth" (or alternatively History and Truth) in Grasshopper Jungle are interesting but by having Austin mention them so many times I found myself doubting everything he said. It's like a child asking "Do you believe me?" after telling an obvious lie. With that aspect in place I'm not even sure how much of this story I am supposed to believe or take at face value. All of it? None of it? Who knows. The fact that I thought so hard shows how much Smith has done well and if you want to read a zany book that asks (even if it might not answer) a lot of interesting questions, this is the book for you. It remains, however unfortunately, a book that was not for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Andrew Smith is an amazing writer, and this book... beyond fabulous. I didn't want to read it at all. I am not into giant man eating praying mantises. At all. But I was encouraged to read it by people I respect and trust and I am so glad I did read it. I am as far from the target audience as you can get but it grabbed me and held me in awe for the entire book. I read Winger after I read this with the same reluctance. I mean, Rugby? The photo on the cover? YUK. But I loved it too. So I concluded, as I said in the first sentence, Andrew Smith is an amazing writer. I would now, without any reluctance, read anything he writes.
sswilkie More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Smith has a unique writing style and I liked it so much I immediately ordered "Stick" by him and loved it as well. I plan on reading all of Andrew Smith's books. Highly recommend this book to all youth and adults.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny and surprisingly insightful on the inner workings of a confused teenage boy's mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, one of the few teen books I would actually recommend. The characters were believable  and acted like real teenagers. I enjoyed all the characters and they're development. I really liked the authors writing style, there is a lot of repeating but it adds to the tone of the book. There were many laugh out loud moments. I can't think of anything negative about the book. Its an enjoyable, absurdist romp.