Grasshopper Jungle

Andrew Smith

Grasshopper Jungle
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Grasshopper Jungle

Andrew Smith

In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend Robby have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.

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.


This unusual coming-of-age novel has been likened to the voices of Vonnegut and Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, with good reason. The narrator, a self-proclaimed historian, Austin Szerba, is a 15-year-old Polish kid living in the middle of a dead-end town in Lutheran Ohio. He’s obsessed with sex and cigarettes and happens to be equally in love with his best friend, Robby, as his girlfriend, Shann. He is also recording the end of the world, which may or may not have been caused by him and Robby, and which will definitely involve giant, sex-obsessed insects.

As our narrator notes, ‘good books are about everything’ and Grasshopper Jungle is a great book that is both a crazy, thrilling ride and a wise and funny look at the confusion of being a teenager – especially when the end of the world happens to be just around the corner.

Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings St Kilda.

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