Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (Penguin)
Release Date: February 11th, 2014
Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the storyof 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.
"[Austin has] a unique voice, but it's one that you have to like in order to get through the book."
I had heard great things about this book, but clearly, I shouldn't have set my expectations so high. Oops.
The book reminded me quite a bit of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, at least at first glance. What makes it so reminiscent is the voice of the protagonist, Austin. It's a unique voice, but it's one that you have to like in order to get through the book.
I, for one, did not like the voice. I was able to get through Perks for various other reasons, but I couldn't get through Grasshopper Jungle. The thing is, I wasn't sure whether or not I would push myself to read it to the end because I could see the glimpse of the potential, and I could see the potential of it straying a little bit from the events and thoughts of Austin at the beginning of the book. But it was his "voice" that I couldn't get through.
I kept getting annoyed or just felt really awkward. I don't need to know that you're feeling horny every two seconds. Yes, I did like the exploration of sexual orientation and of the confusion that it is, but I didn't need to feel so overwhelmed by it. And I couldn't stand the way Austin treats or talks to/about others.
And now that I think about it, maybe it's because he's so self-centered or something, but I, as the reader, don't actually know all that much about Shann or about Robby. All I took away from what he said/thought was that Shann is his girlfriend and he wants to have sex with her and that Robby is his best friend, is gay, and [SPOILERS] kissed him [END SPOILER], making him even more confused about his sexual orientation (since he liked it/didn't mind it).
All of this being said, I can see some people liking it. I really can. I can see myself finishing it. But I don't want this to bog me down, and I don't want this to drag me into a reading slump again. So, with all that being said, and not holding anything against this book other than personal preference, this was a DNF.