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  1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith



    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

    Publication Date: 11th February 2014 
    Published by: Electric Monkey Publishing
    Number of pages: 394 

    Normally when reading a book, there is one recurring theme running through my head the entire time. This time was no different. However, unlike other times I have read books, the thoughts that were running through my heads were somewhere along the lines of: "What the heck am I reading?, "This is so weird!" or "Ew, that's gross!"

    Grasshopper Jungle, if you haven't read it is quite possibly the strangest, most original and hauntingly compelling piece of end-of-the-world-fiction that I have ever laid eyes on. While most apocalypse fiction adheres to the same set of strict morals and gore fests, Grasshopper Jungle swerves completely away from that, creating a whole new era of Armageddon storytelling. Most novels, for me are now completely predictable, I can easily spot overused element or subtle cues that tell me that something is about to happen.

    However with Grasshopper Jungle, I was taken completely and utterly by surprise.  It starts with a killer of a hook and draws you in to the weird, gruesome and very horny world of sexually confused Austin, his gay best friend Robby Brees and his girlfriend Shann as they navigate a scary new apocalyptic world, slowly being overrun by giant praying mantises. 

    Andrew Smith has created a horrifying, yet oddly satisfying world of two headed babies, penises in a jar, giant grasshoppers, germs that turn people into hungry/horny/murderous insects, sexual confusion, horny teenagers, horny adults, strange psychopathic men that grow weird things in jars using their own semen, underground silos and just a general sense of complete, unmitigated bat poop craziness!

    In the nicest possible way, I found myself pausing several times throughout and pondering the much pondered question: What the hell am I reading? Never has a character been so intriguing, horny or sexually confused in all the masses of fiction I have ever laid my grubby pincers (See what I did there) on.

    I honestly think Andrew Smith must have been high or drunk, or extremely horny when he decided to write Grasshopper Jungle, because surely something as deliciously strange of this could have been created from the byproduct of an acid trip. To be honest, if you like this book or not is purely a question of taste.

    Some people may find it too rude or vulgar for them. Some may find it too strange or too gross. I found it all four, and yet I enjoyed it immensely. It isn't often that something has the power to voice my thoughts out loud, and Grasshopper Jungle did just that. There were plots, inside plots, inside plots and yet Andrew Smith managed to weave them seamlessly together, so that somehow, it all seemed to make sense.

    No holds are barred with this book. There is sex. There is drugs and violence and homosexuality. There is blood and gore and a slight bit of religion all thrown in there. The writing is shocking, abrupt and witty. Short and to the point. No need for pretty words or fancy prose. It is so utterly bizarre that you actually start to question your own sanity. At some points, there are moments that you just laugh out loud and others where you seriously begin to worry for the author's sanity.

    If you want a unique, crazy, original, blunt, unblushing book to read this summer. Something that has sparked an entire generation of storytelling as a whole, then I would highly recommend Grasshopper Jungle. I for a fact, will never look at fiction in the same way again.


    Goodreads/Amazon Rating: 5 *****







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