Books Reviewed · YA Novels

That Time I Couldn’t Look Away from the Grasshopper Jungle: A Book Review

Hello Loves!

Welcome to week 2 of August! I know it technically started yesterday, but whatever–it’s summer! haha my days sometimes float together. Anyway, I’m super pumped that I was able to stay consistent and post every day last week. I’m trying to keep to that schedule for the rest of the month. If you missed yesterday’s post on the Pokémon ReadAThon, you can take a look here. On another note, who else is watching the Rio Olympics?? I just watched the synchronized diving last night and OMGosh it was crazy! I swear the Chinese team was not human haha their dives were that crazy good! The American and British teams did really well also 🙂 What event are you watching/looking forward too?

Today’s review is on a bit of a weird book. I enjoyed it, but also didn’t at the same time haha. Check below for all my thoughts 🙂

Also, if you’re sort on time, then check out my Need to Know section for a quick summary of my review!

Ownership: Borrowed from the library 
Genre: 
YA dystopia; LGBTQIA+
Publisher:
 Dutton Books
Published: 2014
Pages:
 388
Price:
$18.99 (hardcover)
Place: AmazonB & N, Book DepositoryGoodReads, IndieBound

 

My Rating:

 

threestars

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith follows Austin, his best friend Robby, and his girlfriend Shann. Austin lives in Ealing, Iowa–a town that has been drying up ever since the McKeon factory shut down. Austin is confused about his girlfriend & his best friend Robby. Austin writes everything down in order to chronicle the history of Ealing, Iowa. One night Austin & Robby accidentally play a part in starting the end of the world. Now Austin & Robby and the town of Ealing, Iowa have to survive an army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises.
I mainly enjoyed reading this book. Austin had an authentic voice and I enjoyed the teenage-boy point of view that I don’t always read as I gravitate to female POVs. I liked the brashness of Austin’s point of view and his weird nuances. He’s definitely an unreliable narrator, but readers easily pick up on that from the beginning. And while I enjoyed reading from his POV, by the end of the book I was definitely sick of it. The main reason this book was only three stars for me was because of Austin’s narration by the end. Austin tends to repeat a lot of information over and over again. While at the beginning I just went along with it as a quirk of the MC, by the end of the novel I was annoyed with reading the same information again and again. While I understand that this was a part of Austin’s character and a part of the unreliable narration, I just couldn’t take it by the end of the novel. If you’re prone to skimming over things, this might not be as big of deal for you, but for some reason I have an inability to skim haha. So while I really did enjoy the freshness of Austin’s narration and POV, by the end of the novel I was just hoping to get through to the end.
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This novel content wise is definitely a weird one! The beginning starts off normal and I enjoyed seeing Austin struggle with his feelings for both his best friend and his girlfriend. I also enjoyed seeing his friendship with Robby and getting the low down about the town and odd characters living there. When the praying mantises start popping up (in a very um interesting way haha), the weird stuff begins. And even though it was weird, I seriously couldn’t look away! I wanted to see more and pushed on despite Austin’s annoying narration. I don’t think that the weirdness was all from the praying mantises. Most of the weird to me had to do with Dr. McKeon and all the stuff surrounding the “release” of the praying mantises. If was strictly the praying mantises appearing to take over the world, I don’t think this apocalyptic tale would be all that weird. It’s really all the extra stuff surrounding them that makes it so weird in my opinion lol.
The pacing of the novel was a little slow. I think this had to do with a lot of Austin’s outtakes and repetition of information. Some of this information played a role in understanding Austin and what was happening within the novel, but sometimes it slowed down the book for me. There were plenty of action scenes, but in the end the book felt like it leaned more towards a coming-of-age or finding-one’s-identity type of book versus an apocalyptic story. The end seemed a bit unresolved as well. I have heard though that Smith is writing a sequel, so I’m interested to see what that might be about and where it might pick up from.
In the end I did enjoy the book for the most part. The narration was a bit of a struggle for me towards the end. I didn’t really end up liking Austin all that much, but I’m not sure if you were supposed to or not. I would recommend this if you’re looking for an interesting dystopian/apocalyptic story or a story with LGBTQIA+ elements. The story also had some humorous moments that added to my overall liking of the novel. However, I most likely won’t be rereading this one. It just wasn’t really my cup of tea by the end of the novel.

  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith follows Austin, his best friend Robby, and his girlfriend Shann. Austin is confused about his girlfriend & his best friend Robby. One night Austin & Robby accidentally play a part in starting the end of the world. Now Austin & Robby and the town of Ealing, Iowa have to survive an army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises.
  • I mainly enjoyed reading this book. Austin had an authentic voice and I enjoyed the teenage-boy point of view that I don’t always read as I gravitate to female POVs.
  • The main reason this book was only three stars for me was because of Austin’s narration by the end. Austin tends to repeat a lot of information over and over again. While at the beginning I just went along with it as a quirk of the MC, by the end of the novel I was annoyed with reading the same information again and again.
  • This novel content wise is definitely a weird one! When the praying mantises start popping up (in a very um interesting way haha), the weird stuff begins. I don’t think that the weirdness was all from the praying mantises. Most of the weird to me had to do with Dr. McKeon and all the stuff surrounding the “release” of the praying mantises.
  • The pacing of the novel was a little slow. I think this had to do with a lot of Austin’s outtakes and repetition of information.
  • 3 stars. In the end I did enjoy the book for the most part. The narration was a bit of a struggle for me towards the end. I didn’t really end up liking Austin all that much, but I’m not sure if you were supposed to or not. I would recommend this if you’re looking for an interesting dystopian/apocalyptic story or a story with LGBTQIA+ elements.

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Polish kids have natural and persistent bags under their eyes. I think we evolved through a lot of sleepless nights or shit like that. (p. 78)

Transient is a nice way of saying homelessHomeless makes people think of despair. It makes you think that the United States of America doesn’t care about people. Transient  sounds like you have a case of wanderlustWanderlust is part of the American Spirit. (p. 137)

History is full of shit like that.
All roads intersect on pages on my desk.
All roads spring up along trails worn down by boys on bikes.
All roads lead past shooting ranges, liquor stores, and gay bars.
Wanderlust is part of the American Spirit. (p. 137)

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Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you’ve read this book! If you have, what are your thoughts on Austin, Robby & Shann? The praying mantises taking over Iowa? Have a favorite scene or quote? Let me know in the comments below! 

As always, Happy Reading!

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*Disclaimer: None of my links on this post or on this blog are affiliate links. If I ever begin to participate in affiliate links, I will let you know. 🙂

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