Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review: Grasshopper Jungle

GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew Smith is an edgy, hilarious, science fiction comedy that brilliantly merges coming-of-age with end-of-the world themes. Look for it on the 2014 Printz shortlists.

Much more than an apocalyptic thriller, this intense tale is told from the point of view of a young historian named Austin Szerba. Backstories of the main characters’ ancestors are skillfully woven throughout the story providing readers with fascinating and bizarre insights and connections that extend well beyond the monster theme.

Austin is an extremely horny sophomore who hangs out with his girlfriend and gay best friend. The realistic approach to teen sexuality and frequent use of potty humor will be particularly appealing to teens. However like many of the most edgy books in the YA collection, it’s likely to offend some readers.

Austin’s already confusing life is turned upside down when an unstoppable army of six-foot-tall praying mantises are unleashed in his small Iowa town.

The combination of teen sex talk, a deranged mad scientist, an underground “bunker of Eden”, and gory alien creature violence are sure to be a draw for teens. Those who enjoy the creative mind of Andrew Smith will also be happy with the result.

The movie rights to the book have already been purchased, so the novel will remain popular in YA and school libraries for at least the next several years.

To learner about the author, go to