The end of the world has come. And Austin and his best friend Robby accidently caused it. They didn’t mean to let the town bullies sneak into their boss’s creepy office and release a plague. Or to find a secret bunker underneath Austin’s girlfriend, Shann’s, house. And that kiss on the roof of the antique mall wasn’t supposed to happen either. Not to mention the Unstoppable Corn… But here the three friends are, in the middle of godforsaken Iowa, with hungry, horny, six-foot-tall praying mantises over-running the town. There’s no way they can stop it, so they might as well cope (and survive) the best they can.
This was an awesomely weird story, and I loved every single moment of it. I only read it a few weeks ago, but I already want to read it again. Even though it features monsters right out of a B-rated horror flick, I can’t use any other word but “literature” to describe what I found within Grasshopper Jungle. This book is so freaking complex. Austin is the narrator, but we hear about Austin’s grandfather and his talking nightingale, and how the bugs are multiplying too. He’s kind of a semi-omniscient narrator, which goes along with him being a budding historian. At times, due to this style of narration, I’m reminded of Vonnegut’s writing – something I first heard from author A.S. King (who will also be at the Festival this year!) when she came to talk at the TBF Read-a-Thon back in October. I also really love how Austin tries figure out his sexuality and to understand himself during the novel – not exactly a coming of age novel, but still… It holds the important message of discovery in any circumstances. Above all, Andrew Smith’s writing is gorgeous and refreshing, even when what he’s writing is vulgar, odd, or straight-up weird – it’s all described and explained in a signature, detailed manner, which adds to half of the fun while reading it. I LOVED Grasshopper Jungle, and I’d strongly recommend it to readers who like sci-fi, literature, and dystopias. (And even if it seems strange, just stick it out – it’s worth it!) I cannot wait to meet Andrew Smith at TBF this year!