Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (3.5 out of 5)
I read about this book months ago. I was unprepared for the bright colored cover. It was as if Dan designed it (referring to my coworker’s love of the neon colors)! I liked it. I liked how the pages are tinted the same color as the cover. The font was big and easy to read, and it is a quick read. All of these are pluses. Add to it that it’s the oddest young adult book I have EVER read, and you have a definite win. It’s also going to be incredibly difficult to sell this puppy in the elitist community I work in, but I hope we have some open-minded young adults who go for that.
Ealing, Iowa. Doesn’t sound real exciting, does it? (Then again, it’s Iowa- why would it?) There’s a big old problem brewing in the small community. Drought? Potato famine? Crappy basketball teams? Joan Rivers in a tractor pull? Nope. Six foot tall praying mantises, with an insatiable appetite for anything resembling food or sex. Yes, horny praying mantises. How did this end up out of control? Best friends Robby and Austin accidentally open up the Pandora’s box and unleash the beasts onto the town. Throw in Austin’s skyrocketing teen hormones and confusion over whether he loves his girlfriend or Robby..and it can get a little, well, insane. This sort of wild and twisted apocalypse is precisely the sort of fun book I need to read nowadays! What the hell happens? Do the mantises take over Grasshopper Jungle? Does Austin figure out his sexual orientation? Does everyone get laid? Does everyone get happy? I will say this- the ending both settles and unsettles things. Confused? Excellent!
This book combines a little friendship, a little love, a little sci-fi, a lot of moral questions, a lot of hormones, a lot of humor, and a ton of heart. I really enjoyed it and advise those who have an incredibly open mind and love to be amused to read it. (In particular, Nicole and Ross would enjoy this). Andrew Smith has done a great job writing this gem of a book centered around a close friendship and all sorts of insect hell breaking loose in a town where the most exciting thing is the local WalFart carries new socks. It was really easy to read and it made me laugh and forget about the gallstones and my dad’s health for a little while. All in all, a win for whomever chooses to read it.