The Compulsive Reader: Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Austin is obsessed with history: family history, the history of Ealing, Iowa, and his own complicated history with his best friend Robby and his girlfriend Shann Collins. When Austin and Robby inadvertently bring about the end of the world, Austin looks to make connections with history, what is unfolding around him, and his intense, confusing feelings for both of his friends to try to understand what he is to do next in the face of an unstoppable army.

Grasshopper Jungle is both hilarious and profane, and Austin’s stubborn persistence in telling the truth—no matter how awkward or shocking—is strangely endearing. Smith’s tone appears glib throughout the narrative, but underneath the profanity, gore, and prolific sex jokes is Austin’s barely concealed confusion over his sexuality and the nature of his feelings for Robby, who is gay, and Shann, who is clearly not comfortable with the boys’ relationship. The plot unfolds quickly, complete with mad scientists, secret underground bunkers, and crazy experiments that yield alarmingly large, voraciously hungry, and perpetually horny bugs. The short chapters and nonlinear narrative are all tied together nicely by Austin’s obsession for telling the truth and finding connections, but this book will challenge readers nonetheless with its fearlessness and the profound questions it raises. Smith has written a memorable, brave, and yes, profane novel. It is an incredible experience of a book.

Cover Comments: This cover is so in-your-face with that neon green, I don't know if there is anything else to say. I think the title will look cool on the actual book--it just sort of fades out on screen (or maybe that's just my vision being blurred by ALL THE NEON).

ARC provided by publisher.

This book will be out next Tuesday, February 11th!


Jen Bigheart said...

Great review! I lovedddd this book!

The Compulsive Reader said...

Me too! I am so glad that so many people seem to feel as passionately about it as I do. I was glued to the pages. I sent my ARC along to so many friends.