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2 Beaverton Children's Young Adult- General

Grasshopper Jungle

by

Grasshopper Jungle Cover

ISBN13: 9780525426035
ISBN10: 0525426035
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Awards


Staff Pick

I've never seen so much weird and awesome packed into one YA book, or so many giant praying mantisesseses [sic]. Add a ribaldly wonderful narrator plus a story that holds its sucker punches until the perfect moment, and you've got that rare thing: a boy-friendly YA title that avoids any and all pigeonholing.
Recommended by The Dot, Powells.com

Absolutely incredible! This book is nonstop campy action and a hilariously honest view into the mind of a sex-crazed, queer teen boy. Truly the best YA book of the year and the finest work from one of today's best YA authors.
Recommended by Brandon W., Powells.com

This book pretty much has everything: the sweet confusion of first love; ruminations on the meaning of history, both cultural and personal; friendship; scientific and sexual explorations; and, oh yeah, giant bugs devouring humanity and bringing about the end of the world! Told through the funny and raunchy perspective of Austin Szerba, a 16-year-old at the epicenter of the apocalypse, Grasshopper Jungle is unlike anything you've read before, careening from the past to the present and back again in an action-packed ride that has as much tenderness and thoughtfulness as it does thrills.
Recommended by Rachael W., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this truly shocking, grotesquely original coming-of-age, end-of-the-world novel, sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the legacy of his family's history in Poland and immigration to the United States while narrating the story of how he and his best friend brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, human-sized (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, 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.

Review:

"Assuming the role of a historian (a wildly obscene historian), 16-year-old Austin Szerba chronicles the end of the world as it begins in his small Iowa town. Austin is in love with two people — his girlfriend, Shann, and his best friend Robby; neither of them is okay with it but, as Austin frequently repeats, 'I was so confused.' This confusion worsens when a series of missteps results in the propagation of six-foot tall, superstrong, mantislike Unstoppable Soldiers that portend a new world order on Earth. Sex is everywhere in this novel (only some of it involving humans), but Smith (Winger) describes it in purposefully clinical and utterly unromantic terms, making connections between the Unstoppable Soldiers — who 'wanted only to fuck and eat' — and human beings, whose preoccupations aren't, perhaps, so different. Filled with gonzo black humor, Smith's outrageous tale makes serious points about scientific research done in the name of patriotism and profit, the intersections between the personal and the global, the weight of history on the present, and the often out-of-control sexuality of 16-year-old boys. Ages 14 – up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

“Original, weird, sexy, thought-provoking and guaranteed to stir controversy. One hell of a book.” Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series

Review:

“Andrew Smith is the bravest storyteller I know. Grasshopper Jungle is the most intelligent and gripping book I've read in over a decade. I didn't move for two days until I had it finished. Trust me. Pick it up right now. It's a masterpiece.” A. S. King, Printz Honor-winning author of Ask the Passengers and Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Review:

"A meanderingly funny, weirdly compelling and thoroughly brilliant chronicle of 'the end of the world, and shit like that.'...In a cannily disjointed, Vonnegut-esque narrative, the budding historian weaves his account of the giant-insect apocalypse in and around his personal family history and his own odyssey through the hormonal stew that is adolescence." Kirkus, starred review

Synopsis:

In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend Robby have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.

This is the truth. This is history.

It's the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.

You know what I mean.

Funny, intense, complex, and brave, Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from testicle-dissolving genetically modified corn to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America in this groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner.

About the Author

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several young adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger and The Marbury Lens. 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 is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California. You can learn more at authorandrewsmith.com and follow him on Twitter: @marburyjack.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Beverly B, April 5, 2014 (view all comments by Beverly B)
Grasshopper Jungle 5 stars is an absurd, touching, honest, funny and creepy story. Mostly, it is absurd, but it is the emotional coming-of-age element that is memorable for me. I am sure most 15 year old males, however, would argue that the humor and sexual angst make the story. Austin is a very befuddled teenager trying to figure out life, love and his future. He records his thoughts and many fears in a journal in which he also chronicles, in delightful detail, the goings on of his small dying rural Iowa town. The story starts out as a typical YA realistic fiction, turns briefly into a bioterrorism thriller, and then morphs into a hilarious B movie monster horror story. Along the way it satirizes hypocrites, big agribusiness and politicians. Poor Austin is so overwhelmed by his conflicted love interests, even when the town is being decimated by six foot man-eating bugs, he is most worried about who he really loves and if he will ever be happy. Because the story is told from Austin's point of view, the other characters are not developed in any depth at all. Austin is way too self-absorbed to have more than superficial relationships, but Austin is a loyal and devoted friend who does not want to hurt anyone's feelings which makes his love triangle all the more stressful for him. The ambiguous ending was a disappointment. Austin's conflict is not resolved, just neatly wrapped up. Was that to leave room for sequels or did Andrew Smith chicken out?
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
y_t_k, February 19, 2014 (view all comments by y_t_k)
adolescent humor? boring
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Tim Ward, February 10, 2014 (view all comments by Tim Ward)
Wow, that was fun. This unsuspecting title by an author I’d never heard of about a mantis-apocalypse hitting small town Iowa stole my interest from beginning to end. Grasshopper Jungle is the funniest book I’ve ever read. It also portrays the best friendship I’ve ever read. The narrator, Austin, is complex, unwilling to look at the world the way society wants him to, and plays the perfect part of historian, recording two events that alone could make great books, but which together fit perfectly into a story that blends the horror of an apocalypse with the emotional turmoil of a 16-year-old in love with both of his best friends.

Austin’s observational nature takes the narrative from first person to a god’s eye view with ease. While the recording of his and the people of his town’s genealogy can rabbit trail, they often end in a hilarious joke or a profound experience which fits an underlying message about humanity that I’m still trying to get a grip on. The book discusses how bugs do only two things, eat and procreate, and a question subtly posed throughout is whether humans are any different. Austin is a horny, selfish teenager, fighting himself to become more than just a bug. The open exploration of his sexuality may not appeal to everyone, but I found his honesty fascinating.

That’s the thing I loved most about Grasshopper Jungle, Austin’s honest, eye-opening experience. One of his best friends, Robby, is an open homosexual. I loved how Austin loved his friend regardless. Their friendship was beautiful in this way. Austin struggles with his feelings about Robby, especially because he loves his girlfriend just as much. This conflict and how he has no one to talk to about his confusion is the center and most interesting aspect of this story.

The six-foot-tall mantises roaming around killing people plays a strong secondary plot and the author does a fantastic job recognizing this aspect as secondary. Their takeover and the mystery behind how Austin and Robby will try to stop them is exciting and horrific, but is summarized well enough to show us the danger without taking us from the central narrative of what Austin will do to keep his two best friends.

Grasshopper Jungle has made me a big fan of Andrew Smith. His narrative is so easy to read. The humor, emotion and adventure all work so well together to making this book one I couldn’t put down. His story telling style is unlike anything I’ve read, with its heart-bleeding honesty and ease of blending story with humor. As soon as I finished Grasshopper Jungle, I picked up his darker tale, The Marbury Lens. I look forward to catching up on all of his books.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780525426035
Author:
Smith, Andrew
Publisher:
Dutton Juvenile
Subject:
Children s-Adventure Stories
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20140211
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 14

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Awards » Michael L. Printz Award Winners
Children's » Featured Titles
Children's » Humor
Children's » Sale Books
Children's » Scary Stories » Monsters
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Science Fiction
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
Young Adult » General
Young Adult » New Arrivals

Grasshopper Jungle Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.50 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Dutton Juvenile - English 9780525426035 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I've never seen so much weird and awesome packed into one YA book, or so many giant praying mantisesseses [sic]. Add a ribaldly wonderful narrator plus a story that holds its sucker punches until the perfect moment, and you've got that rare thing: a boy-friendly YA title that avoids any and all pigeonholing.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Absolutely incredible! This book is nonstop campy action and a hilariously honest view into the mind of a sex-crazed, queer teen boy. Truly the best YA book of the year and the finest work from one of today's best YA authors.

"Staff Pick" by ,

This book pretty much has everything: the sweet confusion of first love; ruminations on the meaning of history, both cultural and personal; friendship; scientific and sexual explorations; and, oh yeah, giant bugs devouring humanity and bringing about the end of the world! Told through the funny and raunchy perspective of Austin Szerba, a 16-year-old at the epicenter of the apocalypse, Grasshopper Jungle is unlike anything you've read before, careening from the past to the present and back again in an action-packed ride that has as much tenderness and thoughtfulness as it does thrills.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Assuming the role of a historian (a wildly obscene historian), 16-year-old Austin Szerba chronicles the end of the world as it begins in his small Iowa town. Austin is in love with two people — his girlfriend, Shann, and his best friend Robby; neither of them is okay with it but, as Austin frequently repeats, 'I was so confused.' This confusion worsens when a series of missteps results in the propagation of six-foot tall, superstrong, mantislike Unstoppable Soldiers that portend a new world order on Earth. Sex is everywhere in this novel (only some of it involving humans), but Smith (Winger) describes it in purposefully clinical and utterly unromantic terms, making connections between the Unstoppable Soldiers — who 'wanted only to fuck and eat' — and human beings, whose preoccupations aren't, perhaps, so different. Filled with gonzo black humor, Smith's outrageous tale makes serious points about scientific research done in the name of patriotism and profit, the intersections between the personal and the global, the weight of history on the present, and the often out-of-control sexuality of 16-year-old boys. Ages 14 – up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , “Original, weird, sexy, thought-provoking and guaranteed to stir controversy. One hell of a book.”
"Review" by , “Andrew Smith is the bravest storyteller I know. Grasshopper Jungle is the most intelligent and gripping book I've read in over a decade. I didn't move for two days until I had it finished. Trust me. Pick it up right now. It's a masterpiece.”
"Review" by , "A meanderingly funny, weirdly compelling and thoroughly brilliant chronicle of 'the end of the world, and shit like that.'...In a cannily disjointed, Vonnegut-esque narrative, the budding historian weaves his account of the giant-insect apocalypse in and around his personal family history and his own odyssey through the hormonal stew that is adolescence."
"Synopsis" by , In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend Robby have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.

This is the truth. This is history.

It's the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.

You know what I mean.

Funny, intense, complex, and brave, Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from testicle-dissolving genetically modified corn to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America in this groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner.

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