Thanks to Andrew Smith and Amy at Lady Reader's Bookstuff for including us on the blog tour. Read on for Alethea's review, the trailer, and a giveaway!
I'm also happy to announce that Andrew will be the keynote speaker at our Pasadena Teen Book Fest on April 26th. I can't wait.
Publication date: 11 February 2014 by Dutton Juvenile
ISBN 10/13: 0525426035 | 9780525426035
Category: Young Adult Science Fiction/Horror
Keywords: Apocalypse, Sexuality, Storytelling, Humor
Format: Hardcover, Audiobook
Source: ARC from publisher
About the book:
This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.
Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend, Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.
"Good books are always about everything." This is what comes to mind whenever I'm pressed to talk or write about Grasshopper Jungle. I stood in a bookstore today with my friend David and author Aaron Hartzler, and rather than engage in an awkward conversation about sperm (which features in this book, and since its main character is a 16-year-old boy, this should not be a spoiler) we kind of nodded and exhaled, smiling. I bet we were all thinking, "And that was our day. You know what I mean." I was also thinking about what kind of toppings you get on a large Stanpreme pizza. I was hungry.
Austin Szerba is a historian, a great observer of human nature. He doesn't write things down; he chronicles them. He sees the patterns and the connections between things. He feels both the hurricane and the distant flutter of the butterfly's wings. He's bursting--erupting, if you will--with love and a will to live. It makes him a perfect witness to the end of the world. I'm hard pressed to tell you anything more; to tell you more would be to rob you of some of the thrill and excitement of experiencing this book for yourself.
It would not actually be easier to tell you what this book isn't about. It's about life and death. It's about family and friendship. It's about cruelty, love, and togetherness. It's about sexual confusion, instinct, and hunger. It's about loyalty, pride, and giant bugs that only want to do two things.
For those who may be uncomfortable about reading anything with profanity, natural urges, bodily functions, harsh realities, and other difficult subjects, you have two choices: get comfortable, or get out of the way. Reminiscent of Tom Robbins spliced with a B-movie and Season 2 of Lost, Grasshopper Jungle rips away at the boundaries that marketers and critics keep trying to erect around young adult literature. Smith has produced an unstoppable, emotional, and endlessly quotable novel that kicks down the barriers between genres. Artfully told, Grasshopper Jungle is about everything.
P.S. It was also Manicure Monday yesterday.
About the Author:
Winger (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and The Marbury Lens (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist).
He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle, published February 11, 2014, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.
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