GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE [2014], by Andrew Smith

Grasshopper Jungle

R. Tim Morris’ Rating: 7/10

Wow. I’m not sure exactly what it was I just read there, but Grasshopper Jungle is nothing if not original. Let me pose the following question to you: If the world was coming to an end due to 6-foot tall mantises hatching from the bodies of a bunch of Iowans, would a 16-year-old boy still have sex on the brain? The answer, I guess, is definitely yes. Austin Szerba is confused sexually; he doesn’t know if he loves his girlfriend Shann or his best friend Robby or both. But he’s a good kid and has one of the most unique (unusual?) voices in fiction.

Author Andrew Smith’s writing style both impressed and exasperated me at times, but Grasshopper Jungle remains an unforgettable story about killer bugs, plague-detecting lemur masks, horny teenagers and testicles. And boy is there ever a lot talk about testicles in this book.

If you’re up for a wild ride, a YA work that isn’t afraid to be insensitive, give this one a try.

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