At least in Ealing, Iowa.
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 is stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann.
Ultimately, it is 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.
Grasshopper Jungle is an outrageous coming-of-age story set during the end of humanity about two boys who are determined to record its destruction while also trying to save it. Austin Szerba is the narrator and guide to the end of the world. He writes everything down to insure there is a comprehensive history of life in Ealing, Iowa. He’s done this for years. Now that there is an army of hungry and horny six-foot tall praying mantises taking over, Austin records it all. Andrew Smith is known for writing compelling and completely unique teen perspectives and this one is his most outlandish yet. His no holds barred stream of consciousness narration is probably not for everyone, but when it comes to Andrew Smith, I will tear through it like no other. Quite possibly the weirdest book I will read all year.
Going into this book, I had no idea what to expect. I hear nothing but good things about Andrew Smith's books (especially from our reviewer Jennifer) so I knew the writing would be solid, but I was not ready for that level of high-octane weird and wonderful. It's a testament to his writing that he is able to pull of such a mind-altering end-of-the-world scenario.
Austin Szerba is one hell of a narrator. He's sexually frustrated and confused, like most teens male and female alike. He's also one hell of a historian. Austin feels the need to write down every detail of life in Ealing and while it occasionally feels like unnecessary, scattered thoughts, the thoughts come together and reveal a hidden latticework of the story. All that aside, you will get to know Austin inside and out. For better or worse.
My best suggestion to any reader approaching this book, whether slowly or ravenously, just keep reading. No matter what you think initially. I bet you'll love it.
Thanks to the lovely marketing team at Penguin Teen, they've allowed us to give away a special prize pack to one lucky winner! For a chance to win a copy of Grasshopper Jungle and #UNSTOPPABLECORN t-shirt, enter your name and email in the Rafflecopter application below. The contest ends on March 6th at 12:01am EST. Winners will be contacted via email.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and The Marbury Lens (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist).
He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle, coming February 11, 2014, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.