Giant mutant praying mantises that just want to eat humans and have sex. Mad scientists. Horny teenage boys. Horny teenage boys confused about their sexual orientation. By this point you’re either really interested in this book or completely turned off. Luckily for me, and for you if you’re still reading this review, I am not easily deterred by less-than-traditional story lines.
It’s the end of the world as we know it. Small town Iowa will never be the same after an army of genetically modified mutant bugs is unleashed on unsuspecting citizens. These bugs are big. They’re strong. And they’re either eating or reproducing, often at the same time. Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba, his girlfriend Shanna, and best friend Robby are right in the thick of things. It’s up to them to save Ealing, Iowa along with the rest of the world. If only it were that simple. Along with saving mankind from the ravages of the mantises, Austin is coming to terms with his relationship with Shanna while at the same struggling with his feelings for Robby, who also happens to be homosexual. Throw into the mix a cast of characters including a hot cheating mom, a masturbating sales clerk, a timid and oblivious stepfather, and you’ve got the ingredients for a true gem of a story.
Besides the fact that Andrew Smith writes one heck of a story, the narrative style blew me away. Austin goes back and forth between telling his story but at the same time providing history and background info on how everything is connected in some way. Six degrees of separation with a witty, rambling sense of humor.The conversations between the teenagers read true to life, and the other characters are weird but not so strange as to be completely unbelievable. A word of warning: This is a very strange book full of sexual innuendo along with the real thing as well as lots of foul language, drinking, and drug use. Not for the the faint of heart or easily offended. But, for those of you who are adventuresome enough to give it a try, you won’t be sorry. This is one book that you won’t soon forget.
Buy it Now: Grasshopper Jungle