Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

2 Stars
This books begins like so many others – an angsty teen lets us in on his pathetic little life. Austin is Polish and might be gay. He’s always horny and likes to draw and keep track of history in his journal. He lives in Iowa and has a real dynamo of a dog who is great at taking dumps. He’s Polish and he might be gay. He’s definitely horny. Did I mention some of that already? Well, if I say it 57,000 more times I’ll maybe come close to how many times Austin brought it up. Yeah, it’s a rough beginning.

About a third of the way through, there was finally get a glimpse of how things may not be quite what they appear

and I was really hoping this book would go from blah to BOOM.

I mean, we’re talking about it potentially being the end of the world

with giant mutant praying mantises

action, gore, even a super secret bunker complete with training videos on how to deal with the potential apocalypse

Sadly, in spite of all of this, Austin still spent much of his time bemoaning the status of his love life.

Many people complain about the voice of young adult characters being too mature, their behavior a little too refined, their vocabulary a little too impressive. Trust me when I say you want it that way. Good gravy is the alternative so much worse.

Andrew Smith wrote a great coming of age story with Winger. He did not need to write another one. He definitely didn’t need to use the same annoying voice for his male lead without giving him any redeeming qualities when creating Austin. Smith himself said this was a book that was never intended to be published and, unfortunately, you can tell. I wish the editors would have put their hands in the pie a whole lot more. The sci-fi story was fun and fresh and I seriously dug it. But the melodrama? It needed to be left on the cutting room floor.

Sidenote: It seems a lot of people are handing out mass quantities of stars on this one because it’s so strange. If you are looking for weird (and I mean WEIRD) without the angst, skip Grasshopper Jungle and check out John Dies at the End instead.

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