BOOKTALK// Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Grasshopper JungleIn 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. And nobody knows anything about it.

This book was given to me by Electric Monkey (Imprint of Egmont Books) in exchange for a review.

The shorter version of this review will tell you that this book is going to blow your f***ing mind. It is so unlike anything I have ever read before and will probably ever read again. Already a contender for my favourite book of 2014! (I know the year is young, but seriously, this book is so damn good!) It is strikingly original, funny, sweet, and so interesting that, from start to finish, it’ll be attached to your hands. Do whatever it takes to get a copy of this book because holy hell it is one hell of a ride.

Our main character and narrator, Austin Szerba, is a chain-smoking, sexually confused, history obsessed, almost-always-horny, “real dynamo” of a sixteen year old boy. He spends the book with his girlfriend Shann and his gay best friend Robby as they experience the end of the world.

This book is so many things that it is hard to get them all into one review without giving the entire book away. It’s about history, sexuality, relationships, what it means to be a teenager, six-foot praying mantises (yes, you did read that right), testicles (again, you did read that right) and so much more. It is a book that every teenager needs and should have and cherish forever. It is captivating and heart-rending. The writing is completely stunning and perfectly summed up by one of Smith’s own characters.

Shann said, “I love how you tell stories. I love how, whenever you tell me a story, you go backwards and forwards and tell me everything else that could possibly be happening in every direction, like an explosion. Like a flower blooming.”

As I was reading it, there were so many poignant moments within it that made me feel like I was reading something incredibly special. It is the illegitimate love child of Michael Grant and John Green. It is this generation’s “The Perks of Being A Wallflower”. It is so many things, but above all it is perfect. Absolutely perfect.

This particular book will explode onto bookshelves in the UK from the 27/02/14.

Prepare yourself. This book is intense.

★★★★★

Waterstones/HIVE

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