Friday, February 14, 2014

Grasshopper Jungle Release Tour and Review

Author: Andrew Smith
Genre: Fiction | YA | LBGT
Release Date: 2/11/14
Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He is stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann.
Ultimately, it is up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

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.

February 3rd – The Midnight Garden
February 3rd – The Story Siren
February 4th – Good Choice Reading
February 4th Bookish
February 5th – I Read Banned Books
February 5th – Jenna Does Books
February 6th – Bibliophilia, Please
February 6th – Escaping One Book At A Time
February 7th – Scott Reads It
February 7th – Live to Read
February 10th Alice Marvels
February 10th The Society
February 11th Lexi Swoons
February 11th A Reader of Fictions
February 12th Roof Beam Reader
February 12th Forever Young Adult
February 13th The Compulsive Reader
February 13th Books and Bling
February 14th Book Chic Club
February 14th The QQQE
February 17th JeanBookNerd
February 17th Ticket to Anywhere
February 18th Sleep Eat Read Books

February 18th Read Now Sleep Later
February 19th Anna Reads
February 19th Word Spelunking
February 20th Books With Bite
February 20th What A Nerd Girl Says

February 21st Wastepaper Prose
February 21st LRB – Guest
February 24th We Are Word Nerds
February 24th Cabin Goddess
February 25th Ex Libris

February 25th Cari's Book Blog
February 25th A Good Addiction
February 26th YA Reads
February 26th The Young Folks
February 27th Novel Thoughts

February 27th Fangirlish
February 28th Once Upon a Twilight
February 28th Naughty Book Kitties

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and The Marbury Lens (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist).

He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle, coming February 11, 2014, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.

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Thanks so much to Amy and Kriss (and anyone else involved) who made this gorgeous tour look the way it looks, and for all the other hard work involved. GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE is quite literally my favorite young adult novel, and it's also really pushing the limits toward my all time favorite book. But that's not what we're here for.

We're here for an overall review (and a giveaway, obviously), so maybe I better get to that, eh? I know probably none of you have been reading my series of responding to the book as I re-read it, section by section, but that doesn't really matter. That's an entirely different animal.

So ... without further ado, here is my review.

GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, which is not officially sub-titled: A HISTORY, is about a lot of things. What does that mean, anyway? About? Well, in my opinion, when you're talking about art, about means ... meaning. Specifically, it means what it means to me.

Well, that sounds simple, but it isn't. Don't worry. That's a good thing. Mainly, to me, this book is about questions. Not only like, what does history mean if we're bound to repeat it anyway, which is obviously an important question man has pondered for some time, but also like: who are we, and what defines us as men and women, boys and girls, cowards and heroes, and sinners and saints and all the spectrums in between? Is it actions? Thoughts? Behaviors? Accomplishments? Asking the right questions? Questioning things in general?

I would argue that's it's all of the above, but I don't have to argue that of all the things I possess in this life, knowledge of self is probably the most valuable. Nothing trumps it. It's not always a nice, easy thing to possess, because I'm a human being, and being a human being is fucking hard sometimes, but it helps to know that I am fragile and imperfect and kind and sensitive and observant and brave.

I am a lot like Austin Szerba.

I am a lot like Robby Brees.

I am not so much like Shann Collins, but I love her anyway.

Austin has a lot of questions. Austin questions himself a lot. He doesn't have a lot of answers, but he does have the truth, and his devotion to telling it is one of the greatest things about his character and about this book. THE greatest thing about both is his love for his friends. I don't know if I've ever had friends as great as Austin and Robby, but I know that if I ever did, I would treasure them.

And ... I hope you don't mind that I didn't really talk about the plot. You can find out about that all over the internet, if you want, but I thought it would make more sense to write a little bit about how much this book means to me, since that too might make you want to buy it.

Which is kind of the point after all, isn't it?


Dani said...

Grasshopper Jungle is on my TBR list! It sounds so amazing and he is such a fantastic author. The stuff he comes up with is pure gold. I can't wait to get my hands on it!!
Hope you are doing good Matt!

Sarah Ahiers said...

I'm glad you didn't talk about the plot. I'm trying to avoid spoilers.
Also, man Andrew is so fricking prolific. I remember when he only had, like 3 novels. And now it will be eight after this year

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

He's quite accomplished as a writer - impressive!

mshatch said...

I loved The Marbury Lens and I can't wait to read Andrew's latest.

SC Author said...

Sounds like a good book!!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I also fell in love with a character in Nightmare in Niceville. Her name's Sarah and her determination to defend her friends really touched me. Especially since she was not the MC. Grasshopper Jungle seems to touch on various issues and a character who seeks and believes in the truth is a plus in my book.