Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Ealing, Iowa is a plain, normal town. Until Austin and Robbie Bree unleash something that might have doomed the entire world. It all started one regular day when Robbie and Austin were skating in a dark alley called Grasshopper Jungle. All of a sudden, a group of bullies from a nearby school, not from the private Lutheran one that Austin and Robbie went to, jumped them. They attacked the two, on the basis that Robbie was gay. They stole their skateboards, along with their shoes, and threw them up on the roof of a local oddities shop. They were scared off by Louis, a chef at a restaurant nearby. Austin and Robbie made a plan to get their belongings later, not not after writing with blood Grant W. Robbie had planned to write a sentence, but it so happened that his wound stopped bleeding after Grant W.

Later that night, just as they planned, Austin, Robbie, and Shann, Austin’s girlfriend, made their slow way to the pawn shop. Robbie and Austin made their way up to the roof, while Shann stayed as a lookout. The two boys retrieved their things, along with a pink flamingo with a metal rod out of it’s butt, and an odd smelling lemur mask. They put it to the side, along with their skateboards and shoes. Things then got a little awkward, when Robbie asks Austin to kiss him, because Robbie has never been kissed before. Austin, being the good friend that he is, allows him, but feels confused afterward, because he felt sexually aroused. He ignored that feeling, but then found a trapdoor down into the store, where Johnny, Shann’s stepfather, owned. They were not supposed to be there, but where there nonetheless. Because they had the opportunity, they snuck inside Johnny’s office, where they were forbidden before. Inside was a case of something called MI Plague Strain 412E. This was the beginning of the end.

As they explored the room, they could hear someone coming. They hid in a not so good hiding spot under Johnny’s desk, and could hear the bullies who attacked them before come in. Being the thugs they were, they stole some items, including the Plague Strain 412E. On the way out, though, they dropped the strain right on Robbie’s blood. They were the first infected. The infection then spread to Hungry Jack, a local homeless guy who lived around there. Then it somehow managed to get on two slices of pizza, where two others, a couple, were infected.

Robbie and Austin were there to witness when Hungry Jack hatched. He was hit by a car, and was still ‘alive’, technically. In reality, though, a giant, 6 foot creature that resembled a mantis, crawled out of Hungry Jack’s body. He, being an insect, had two urges. To mate, and to eat. He satisfied part of his hunger by eating the first Hungry Jack’s body. The others hatched soon afterward. They started wreaking havoc in Earling, Iowa, and Robbie, Shann and Austin were the only ones who could stop them.

Age Recommendation: 15+

Personal Opinion: This novel was masterfully written by Andrew Smith, as a teenage boy. Although I am not one, I was shocked by how truthfully and innocently as he wrote it. His writing is superb. He gives flashbacks, and often repeats things to put emphasis on it. I enjoyed his book, and the characters. Robbie, Austin, and Shann, along with all the other characters, especially Ingrid… love dogs… He addresses a lot of important current issues. (Jade’s Review- 4.3/5)