Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
All the best books are about everything. You know what I mean?
Grasshopper Jungle is no exception. This book is about smoking cigarettes with your best friend, finding condoms and bibles in dresser drawers, grimacing lemur masks, plastic pink flamingos, shrinking balls, little blue kayaks, unstoppable corn, horny teenage boys, giant praying mantises and the end of the world.
And they all cross under our feet.
What this book is really about is connections. How the things we do and the decisions we make have an impact. How history tends to repeat itself no matter what. About how we keep doing the same sh*t over and over and why? Well, because we're human and that's what humans do because there are stupid among us. Because we don't look closely enough at those connections. We don't study the past to see where we went wrong and fix it. That's why.
Austin Szerba is your typical teenage boy. Sort of. He likes recording history, skateboarding and smoking cigarettes with his best friend Robby Brees. He's in love with his girlfriend Shann Collins. He's got both his parents, a brother fighting in Afghanistan, and a dog Ingrid, who lost her vocal cords when she was just a puppy. He's horny for Shann, but he also wonders if he might be gay for Robby and sh*t like that. He's not sure what to do about it.
Through a series of seemingly unconnected events, Unstoppable Soldiers, in the form of giant praying mantises, are unleashed on the unsuspecting town of Ealing, Iowa. All they want to do are eat and screw (not unlike teenage boys) and impregnate the female which will lead to the world being taken over by these Unstoppable Soldiers and the eventual end of the human race.
By digging through history, Austin connects the dots and finds that only he and Robby can stop the giant bugs and save the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
Grasshopper Jungle is weird, inappropriate, disgusting and one of the best books I've read in a long time. Its innovative, fresh and fun. Austin's voice is one of the most original I have read in YA, ever. Period.
Perfect book for boys, although, the appeal of this book is far reaching. Of course, I caution, not for those looking for a "clean" read. This book, like I said, talks about horny teens, masturbation, sex, etc. Typical teen stuff. If that's not your thing, stay away.
This is the truth. Andrew Smith has just become one of my favorite YA authors and I cannot wait to read more of his work.
Big thumbs up on this one. You know what I mean?
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