Wed, February 19, 2014

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith Review

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Grasshopper Jungle book cover

Grasshopper Jungle
By Andrew Smith
Publication date: Feb. 11, 2014
Dutton Juvenile, 338 pages
Source: Publisher

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the storyof 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.

— Goodreads.com description

I’m one of the few who missed out on the buzz surrounding Andrew Smith’s Winger last year, but based on Grasshopper Jungle…ummm I SHOULD GET ON THAT.

Because, wow, Grasshopper Jungle is WEIRD AS ALL GET OUT, but it it’s also dang good.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel that wasn’t written in verse but still felt this much like poetry. Smith’s surprising word choices and phrasing and the repeated refrains and themes he weaved so well throughout the story will make it a real treat for readers who appreciates thoughtful, unique writing.

And then all the loveliness is juxtaposed with the actual story, which is all about giant mutant praying mantises and a horny, confused teenage boy.

So, yeah. It’s strange. But it’s also amazingly refreshing. I’m, like, equal parks impressed and concerned about what is going on in Andrew Smith’s brain. I would say if you are open to trying something different and are ready to be pleasantly surprised by a book, check this one out. I wouldn’t have thought it was for me on paper, but I’m so glad I gave it a try — so I think you should, too!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Giveaway time:

Ready to try the book yourself? Enter below for a chance to win a copy of Grasshopper Jungle and an #UNSTOPPABLECORN t-shirt. U.S. only, please. Good luck!

For more on Andrew Smith:

Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Website

More from the blog tour:

February 3: The Midnight Garden and The Story Siren
February 4: Good Choice Reading and Bookish
February 5: I Read Banned Books and Jenna Does Books
February 6: Bibliophilia, Please and Escaping One Book At A Time
February 7: Scott Reads It and Live to Read

February 10: Alice Marvels and The Society
February 11: Lexi Swoons and A Reader of Fictions
February 12: Roof Beam Reader and Forever Young Adult
February 13: The Compulsive Reader and Books and Bling
February 14: Book Chic Club and The QQQE

February 17: JeanBookNerd and Ticket to Anywhere
February 18: Sleep Eat Read Books and Read Now Sleep Later
February 19: Anna Reads and Word Spelunking
February 20: Books With Bite and What A Nerd Girl Says
February 21: Wastepaper Prose and LRB – Guest

February 24: We Are Word Nerds and Cabin Goddess
February 25: Ex Libris and Cari’s Book Blog and A Good Addiction
February 26: YA Reads and The Young Folks
February 27: Novel Thoughts and Fangirlish
February 28: Once Upon a Twilight and Naughty Book Kitties

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: andrew smith
43

43 Comments

  1. Anya said:

    I love ‘weird’ books. I feel like surreal elements leave way for more humanity to come through.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    How beautifully put!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  2. We Heart YA said:

    We’ve read WINGER and were a bit split on it. One of us MAJORLY loved it, the other… did not. (Didn’t hate it though! Just found certain elements… lackluster/frustrating.) Still, we all agree that Andrew Smith is a very unique and ambitious writer, and we would give all his future work a look. (The one of us who loved WINGER is of course dying to read GJ.)

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Ooooh, interesting that you had mixed reactions! I have heard nothing but praise, so it’s good to hear another perspective. Maybe too much hype?

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  3. Tammy said:

    I read Winger and really liked it. I loved the male POV but it did make me thankful to be a girl. Guys can be rough and mean to each other.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    HAHAHA this book was the same! Like, soooooooooo glad I’m not a dude.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  4. Shelby Brown said:

    I read Winger, and I LOVED it. They characters were so original and great. I will definitely be adding this book to my list!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    YES! I really need to read that one now!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  5. Diana said:

    I almost picked this up at the bookstore the other day, but put it back. Now I am wishing I would have purchased it.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Maybe you’ll win! Stay tuned… 😉

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  6. Jackie Lea Sommers said:

    Ooooh, I so want to win this one … it sounds so fascinatingly strange!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Eeek good luck!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  7. Haley Moody said:

    The love ordeal intrigues me, but bugs creep me out. I think I might add it to my to read list anyway! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    HAHA just wait until you’re in that ‘Eh, I’m ready for something insane’ mood

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  8. Daphne said:

    this was not really on my radar(i mean it was, b/c I’m a blogger,but it didn’t look like something I would normally read), but now i’m quite anxious to get to it. great review. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Love it!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  9. Nikki @ Foil the Plot said:

    Okay, so bugs kind of freak me out and I highly doubt I’d fare well in this kind of apocalyptic scenario. But either way, I applaud Smith’s ingenuity and his ability to blend a coming-of-age tale with such craziness. Really refreshing! So excited for this one!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Ick, yeah, praying mantises are nasty as-is, let alone GIANTTTT

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  10. Jessica S said:

    I’ve always wanted to read his other book and I’ve heard such great things about this book, that I can’t wait to read it 🙂 I will have to put these both on my wish list!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    I’ve heard tons of wonderful things about Winger. That one also seemed out of my comfort zone, but after enjoying this one I’ll have to give it a go anyway.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  11. Theresa Cooper said:

    This book sounds great! Definitely adding it to my list on Good Reads! Thanks for the review!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    My pleasure 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  12. Kristen said:

    My teacher next door is reading this book. She also loves it so far!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Nice!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  13. Marcela said:

    I would love to read this book because I’ve read so many good things about the author. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    I can’t wait to read more of his books!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  14. bn100 said:

    Wouldn’t fare well in a mutant grasshopper apocalypse

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Nope, me neither. Total failure.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  15. Lady Reader said:

    Thanks so much for posting. So glad you enjoyed it! xx

    Amy

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Thanks for hosting, Amy!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  16. Kim m said:

    Looks interesting. I would fail miserably in a grasshopper apocalypse. (Never thought I would utter those words. lol)

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    HA! That’s basically how I felt reading this book. “Never though I’d read that sentence…” It’s so wacky and great!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  17. Keri Estep said:

    I’m a total nerd for young adult books. I’m like 25, but it’s still my favorite genre. Whatever, don’t judge me. I’d be completely lost in a grasshopper apocalypse considering I’m terrified of them.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Oh, pshhh like I would ever judge you. I’m older than that and look at me here 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  18. Lisa said:

    I haven’t read Winger, but I’ve been meaning to for a while. That’s one of the reasons this is on my TBR. The other reason being how strange this book sounds. It sounds super weird, but in an intriguing way, if that makes sense.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  19. Elisquared said:

    I haven’t read Winger, but the cover is one of my favorites. The reason I want to read Grasshopper Jungle is because it sounds so weird, and that makes it that much more intriguing!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  20. Heather said:

    I’ve only recently discovered Andrew Smith’s books, and have just read Winger at this point, but I’m solidly in love with the man’s writing. His male internal dialogue was just so wonderful and genuine, and the story itself was so wonderful! I’m really looking forward to more of the same in this book, and relish the idea of throwing some outlandish elements into the things I already love. I’m loving hearing so many great things about this wonderfully sacked-out story, so thanks for adding fuel to the fire of my enthusiasm! And thanks for the giveaway as well!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  21. Maggie Dominiak said:

    This book sounds really good. I’d like to try and read it:)

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  22. Nicole said:

    I haven’t read Winger yet but I really want to! Along with Grasshopper Jungle they both sound really interesting and sometime I would definitely enjoy!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  23. Danielle P said:

    I haven’t read Winger yet but I’d love to! I’m all about Apocalypses! LOL

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    ME TOO!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

  24. Jordan P said:

    This book sounds awesome. You had me at mentioning verse/poetic nature. I can’t wait to read it — definitely adding this title to my To-Reads list on GoodReads. Thanks for the recommendation! (and the apocalypses? who isn’t into that!?)

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Right? I love apocalypse books. I think this book definitely won’t be for everyone…but I hope you do like it!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, February 19, 2014

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