If you love horny, hungry grasshoppers, then you’ll love Bryan and Robert’s review of Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle!
Bryan’s quick summary:
Ealing, Iowa doesn’t have much, but it does have a phosphorescent mold that could cause the apocalypse real quick. Austin and his best friend Robby do everything together, so it’s no surprise that they’d accidentally unleash an unstoppable army during a late night break-in. As the horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises ravage their small town, Austin and Robby may be the only ones who hold the key to Earth’s salvation. As long as a confusing love triangle and Austin’s hornyness don’t get in the way.
Grasshopper Jungle is by Andrew Smith
So what did we think? (From a reader’s perspective)
1. (Bryan) This was hilarious and I wish more people knew about it. The fact that it has the same star rating and number of reviews as my first book is a travesty. I want it to spread through the world like a plague of horny praying mantises.
2. (Robert) What a great story! Unusual, witty, challenging. Not for the faint-hearted when it comes to swearing, crude sexuality and gore … and yet. It’s also sensitive; about coming of age … and zombie grasshoppers.
3. (Robert) At times hilarious, we’re in Austin’s head the whole time, as he relates his “history”. There’s some repetition that underpins Austin’s voice, repetition that I loved, in the same way you look forward to the chorus of your favorite song. “It was not a good idea.” Some reviewers found this annoying, but maybe they’ve never read Vonnegut, or King or other writers with a distinctive voice. It’s well done!
What did we think from a writer’s perspective?
1. (Bryan) The humor is amazing. Smith uses repetition to incredible effect. In improv, we’d call them callbacks. He has a TON of wonderful callbacks throughout.
2. (Robert) Austin is a great protagonist. He acts selfishly, but doesn’t realize that it’s selfish until his actions come back to haunt him. He has his highs and lows, amidst which we have an unfolding exoskeletal apocalypse.
3. (Bryan) By weaving underage drinking, smoking, sex, drugs, nudity, masturbation, and the apocalypse, it’s almost like Smith wanted to go against every safe convention of the YA genre, and it works in his favor.
Bryan and Robert’s Famous Takeaways:
1. So many funny things in a serious story: randy boys, a mute-dog that poos too much, crazed giant grasshoppers … what a mix.
2. An unusual love triangle, set in a small town, the epicenter of a horrible and gory monster apocalypse, told in a unique manner. Brilliant!
3. Keep YA weird!
Prompt of the Week:
The mad scientist in Grasshopper Jungle accidentally creates a plague of giant unstoppable insects in the 1970s. What else might he have created during his experiments? Come up with 5 ideas and see what kind of havoc they could wreak across the Earth.