Thursday, January 23, 2014
I've finished my 2014 YA gap book reading (The Chocolate War, Speak, and Holes were all phenomenal), so now I'm treating myself to my ARC of Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith.
Moreover, since we're getting pretty close to the release date now, I thought I'd blog daily about my thoughts as I read. This book is a crazy thrill ride (I've read it before) so I think it will be fun for people to see how I react to certain parts ... without giving too much away.
So, last night I didn't have time to read much, but I started with PART 1: EALING. It begins:
This section, which isn't really a foreward or a preamble or a prologue or anything like that, is still special. For one, it's not labeled. Most of the other sections (kind of like chapters but kind of not) have awesome labels. Things like FIXING FEET, BUGS DO TWO THINGS, and GRANT WALLACE MURDERED ME. They're all clever, funny, and important to the book. But this section isn't titled like the others.
What it is, I think, is a brilliant promise to the reader. Most of you are writers, so you've probably heard of the saying the first page makes a promise to the reader. That's not all it does, of course, but it's one thing it does. This section promises that Grasshopper Jungle is a history. A history of the end of the world, to be precise, but most importantly: a history. A history in which people, as they are wont to do, keep doing dumber and dumber shit. This section promises that this story will be a wild thrill ride, filled with madness and mayhem and love and loyalty and friendship and family, and always--always the truth. This section hints at some of the details of the crazy things to come, showing the reader just how nuts the plot of this book is going to get, but it also clues you in to Austin Szerba: how he thinks, how he writes, how much he cares about recording the history of the end of the world.
Somebody has to.
Anyway, I read a little further than that, obviously, but this section has always stuck in my mind, so I wanted to share it with you. I'll be back tomorrow for more, but I won't be breaking down the details of every page or anything. Just ruminating a bit on what sticks out to me and so on.
Hopefully this will help to build some excitement as we approach the release of one of my all time favorite novels.
Stay tuned, because at the end of all of this I'll be giving away a copy that I owe my readers after betting Andrew on the Braves/Dodgers MLB Divisional playoffs last fall (I know, I'm pretty late on that - sorry).
The book drops on February 11th 2014 from Dutton Juvenile (Penguin) and you can find out more at: