Author: Andrew Smith
Published: 27 February 2014 by Electric Monkey
Length: 394 pages
Source: won from FictionThirst
Summary : 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.
Review: Austin and Robby accidentally unleash an army of giant praying mantises. They also find somewhere where they might be able to survive the end of the world.
I wanted to read this because I was told queer protagonist plus laughs plus weird stuff and this looked right up my street.
It started with one of my favourite ever opening passages. Then an introduction to Robby and Austin, and the people in their town. Then lots of weird weird things.
A lot of things happen in Grasshopper Jungle, which would seem crazy on their own, but just about work when combined into the story.
This is definitely funny in places. Austin is a sex obsessed teenager questioning his sexuality and other things in life. He's also attempting to record everything as a historian. This makes for a unique writing style, with many funny parts such as “Even though we dutifully archived elaborate records of everything we've ever done, we’ve also managed to keep on doing dumber and dumber shit” and the chapter titles. However, this also comes with a lot of annoying things. We are told every time he gets horny, and we also get repeated things like names and histories of people which he's already explained. Both these things get irritating after the first few instances, and they carry on throughout the entire book.
I like the fact we get a lot of information about everything, which I think works because 1)it's interesting and 2)some things are so bizarre that not knowing as much as we can about a thing can make it impossible to understand. It felt like I was reading slower than usual, maybe to make sure I caught everything, maybe because the of the style. I don't know.
The characters are well fleshed out, though I felt I didn't really get to get close to them, maybe because of the blunt writing style. Also, regarding Austin's sexual confusion: this is why bisexuality and options of nonmonogamy need to be openly offered. (I might do a post on bisexuality and nonmonogamy and why that would solve so many problems in literature and life. More on that later maybe).
The plot developed slowly, which meant we got a chance to take it in. we also got a full history of each generation of Austin's family from leaving Poland down to Austin, which I liked.
Andrew Smith's imagination is wonderful.
Overall: Strength 3 tea to a book which was weird in an awesome way, but not entirely my thing.