Grasshopper Jungle is a Young Adult Novel written by Andrew Smith. It centers around the main character Austin Szerba and his sexual confusion and attraction to his two close friends (Robby Brees and Shann Collins) of opposite genders. All while dealing with the probability of the end of the world.
The book itself is written in a format that it is easy to follow. Each section is divided into subsections with a catchy title attached to them. Where often times the main plot line would be put on pause for a back story about Austin’s great great grandfather.
This isn’t your typical coming of age’s story. I mean, I guess you can say it is. If that includes killer praying Mantis. Most of the book was very slowly. I kept waiting for some action. I mean the world might be taken over by a swarm of giant killer praying mantis, alas, it wasn’t nowhere near the pace I expected it to be. We spent a lot of time dealing with Austin questioning his sexuality in a problematic way. He knew he was attracted to both his friends, but instead of question if he was bisexual He kept wondering if he were gay for liking both male and female. Anyways, when the book did seem to pickup in certain points, we often hit these road blocks of Austin proclaiming to be Horny. About everything. Which, one, kept pulling me out of the book, and two made me roll my eyes way to many times. Though, I got the use of it. I mean I get it, a high schooler constantly being horny and going through puberty. But some of the times it seemed so unnecessary and ruined the moments for me. – Which could also be argued as the main idea of it’s usage-.
One of the biggest problems for me was that the author would halt the main story line to tell us what other characters were doing at the exact same moment. Which, I understand this book is basically a collection of historical moments for Austin but I could of went without the pages upon pages of unnecessary details of what others were doing.
What I like the most about this book was the unconventional and unrestricted approach to a coming-of-age novels. Many people complain that they’re tired of reading novels that’s only plot is someone struggling with their sexuality. Well, if you’re one of those people this book is for you. It has end of the world realness. Along with random moments of sexy time and sexual confusion.
All in all, I give this book 4 stars out of Five.