Grasshopper Jungle

A History

Smith, Andrew

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Grasshopper Jungle
Print
"Austin Szerba narrates the end of humanity as he and his best friend Robby accidentally unleash an army of giant, unstoppable bugs and uncover the secrets of a decades-old experiment gone terribly wrong"-- Provided by publisher.

Publisher: New York, New York :, Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA),, 2014
ISBN: 9780525426035
0525426035
Branch Call Number: y SMITH 2014
Characteristics: 388 pages ;,22 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Austin Szerba narrates the end of humanity as he and his best friend Robby accidentally unleash an army of giant, unstoppable bugs and uncover the secrets of a decades-old experiment gone terribly wrong"--

A first person chronicle of the end of the world from the perspective of 16 year old Austin Szerba. In a small town in Iowa, the protagonist, Austin, struggles with his affection for his best friend and his girlfriend. All the while there are 6 foot tall praying-mantis-like alien Unstoppable Sold... Read More »

As if it's not complicated enough dealing with giant, deadly mantis mutants that only want to eat or have sex, Austin deals with being attracted to both his girlfriend and his best friend. Hilarious, crude, and not for the faint of heart.

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.


From the critics


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Mar 22, 2015
  • hanstra rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I loved everything about this book- the writing, the plot, the relationships- until the ending. The ending was really disappointing and just sort of trailed off into an unsatisfying and inconclusive end.

Nov 14, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_StephenA rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is one of my favorite books from 2014! Strange and beautiful, this book is filled with delightfully weird and supremely gory action, memorable characters, and one of the most compelling love triangles in recent memory.

Oct 22, 2014
  • gh0stie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A short, brief description; A teenager is confused with his sexuality, there are giant six foot praying mantises, and the end of the world is caused by unstoppable corn.
Grasshopper Jungle is definitely one of my favorite books. The writing style is something like a thought process- Going back and forth, describing everything that is going on in that moment with a sarcastic and genuine tone. Austin is a confused Polish boy in love with his best friends, Robby is a gay lutheran and god of giant bugs, and Shann is just as confused as Austin is. You can also flip to literally any page and find a good quote, which is an important trait for any fantastic book.

Oct 20, 2014
  • CRRL_CraigGraziano rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Austin is brilliantly funny in his matter-of-fact take on the end of the world, but it is not all wisecracks and violence. Even amidst the sarcasm, we find genuine moments of emotion for these teens. They struggle for not only survival, but understanding who they really are.

Read more at: http://www.librarypoint.org/grasshopper_jungle_smith

Sep 25, 2014
  • joelbutler rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A horny teen historian chronicles the end of the world by giant bug soldiers. A funny stream of consciousness history that sometimes repeats itself too often. The teens also come off as a bit uncaring about all the deaths happening around them.

Jun 13, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
Austin Szerba is obsessed with writing down his history but in his small Iowa town there isn't much to write about except his complicated love life with his gay best friend Robby and his girlfriend Shann. Life gets more interesting when giant praying mantis's show up and start eating the populace.
- Anne Rouyer

Jun 12, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
Austin Szerba is obsessed with writing down his history but in his small Iowa town there isn't much to write about except his complicated love life with his gay best friend Robby and his girlfriend Shann. Life gets more interesting when giant praying mantis's show up and start eating the populace.

Jun 06, 2014
  • LibraryK8 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This novel probably the BEST written books I have ever read. It is original, funny, engaging and disturbing. I encourage you to loose yourself in it.

May 30, 2014
  • katrinka28 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book was so weird it bordered on wonderful. That's a thing right? You know like a pint of some odd ice cream flavor that you try just one spoonful of but keep going back to just to make sure you still don't quite like it and then you've managed to eat the entire pint? That's not just me...right? Right?!
So back to books and not weird ice cream flavors, Grasshopper Jungle reminded me a lot of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (but with 6 foot tall man-eating bugs, you know cause that makes any book infinitely better). It is the story of a young Polish boy, Austin Szcerba and his attempts to test fate by living a "normal" life in the tiny Iowa town of Ealing, Iowa. This is not going to happen for poor, confused Austin. He is definitely pre-destined for awesomer, weirder things. There are crazy giant bugs (but not til later). There is a quasi-love-triangle (but not til later). What there is a lot of is a boy, trying to figure out who he is, how he effects the world around him and how his history effects him, always. The history sections were randomly interspersed throughout the tale but they were wonderfully written and terribly interesting (that may just be the history teacher in me talking...you be your own judge).

I really feel like I could put this on the contemporary/realistic fiction shelf in my classroom. It is so realistic to the hormone-fueled, confused, lost teenage boy. Oh, except for those 6 ft tall man-eating bugs...at least I hope that parts not real!

Final recommendation: if you like history, contemporary fiction, teenagers, small-town drama, cursing, alien invasions.

P.S. I totally want my own Eden, to run around, wear jumpsuits, bounce on beds and listen to the Stones (again minus the bug-pocalypse above).

May 23, 2014
  • JCLDennisR rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a fun, crazy book!

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Quotes

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Oct 22, 2014
  • gh0stie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"I was going to do something I'd never done, and do things I could not understand and never believed existed.

This is history, and this is also the truth."

Oct 22, 2014
  • gh0stie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

". . .Heinreich Fuchs researched in Splugen.

There were a lot of Fuchs in Splugen.

Splugen was full of dumb Fuchs."

Age

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Oct 20, 2014
  • CRRL_CraigGraziano rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

CRRL_CraigGraziano thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Summary

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Jun 06, 2014
  • LibraryK8 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Behold the history of the end of the world - by Austin Szerba. The end of the world does not start with a bang or a bomb, or an ultimatum from outer space. It begins (and ends) in Ealing, Iowa, in Grasshopper Jungle, the parking lot behind the strip mall containing a pizza place, the liqueur store and the second-hand store. It begins when Austin and his best friend Robby (who is is pretty sure he is in love with) are bullied by the local small-town thugs who will never amount to anything (because they are not bright enough too and because they will shortly die). The fate of the world is sealed when said thugs break into the second-hand store to steal a glowing glass ball. The world is doomed when they break it open and unleash a plague of carnivorous giant insects on the world. Austin records everything (that is not an overstatement) that happens.

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