Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith: Book Review


Grasshopper Jungle is a bizarre, hilarious, original and extremely entertaining novel about Austin Szerba’s life, or what he calls ‘my history.’ Throughout the novel Austin interweaves stories of his ancestors/Polish background with his present, in which he and his best friend Robby have accidentally spurned the rise of Unstoppable Soldiers (giant man-eating praying mantises who love to ‘fuck and eat’ as quoted in the novel) and ultimately the end-of-the-world.

Andrew Smith is pretty much a genius, in my opinion. Perhaps he was high while writing this, I don’t know. Regardless, Grasshopper Jungle is certainly unlike any other novel I’ve ever read and very, very clever. It made me laugh way more than I’d expected, but it also touches on life issues with a sensitive touch.

I will say that Grasshopper Jungle isn’t a book that everyone will like. There’s an abundant use of swear words, lots of violence, lots of sex talk, and it’s all pretty graphic. If you’re easily offended or a bit sensitive to these things, you might not like it. You might also find it boring because Austin’s way of storytelling is a little repetitive at times. It worked for me because I found it hilarious, but other readers may find it tedious. For example, a lot of things make Austin feel horny, and he informs us readers of that fact numerous times.

What especially makes Austin feel horny is of course his girlfriend, Shann, but also his best friend, Robby, and also the idea of a threesome with Shann and Robby. It’s all very confusing and Austin feels quite confused throughout the novel. I hope I’m not giving too much away in saying so, but the love triangle in Grasshopper Jungle definitely isn’t your average love triangle. I’m on Team Robby.

The whole plot is ridiculous and I loved it. It’s so unbelievable, but still just incredibly awesome. I don’t know. I loved every minute of reading this fascinating and strange book and though I do feel a lot of people might not like it, I’m really glad a novel like this exists. The world needs more twisted tales just like it. 

I definitely want to watch the film that’s going to be made! WOOT 🙂


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