Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith | Audiobook Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith | Audiobook ReviewGrasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Narrator: Philip Church
Length: 9 Hours 19 Minutes
Also by this author: 100 Sideways Miles
Published by Penguin Group USA on 2014-02-20
Genres: Action & Adventure, Humorous Stories, Monsters, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the storyof 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's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's 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.

Why Did I Listen To This Book?

Apparently, Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is what the youths call hype, meaning that it’s kind of a big deal. As I am the type of person who has to read books that are a big deal and that have pretty much everyone ever buzzing, I got my hands on Grasshopper Jungle in audio and ebook form. I ended up opting for the audiobook because I’ve seen mixed reviews and well, to be honest, I tend to have better luck with audiobooks when it comes to reading books that aren’t every single person’s cuppa. Also, the apocalypse brought on by giant bugs? SCARY but yes please.

What’s The Story Here?

I do not even know where to start with what Grasshopper Jungle is all about, because I would either confuse you or scare you off. Basically, the main character and narrator is this fifteen year old boy named Austin. Austin is sexually confused. He’s also recording the history of the apocalypse, which happens in Ealing, Iowa. He’s BFF with this guy named Robby who Austin may be attracted to and also dating this girl named Shann Collins, who he loves. Both make him horny and he often talks about wanting a threesome with both. Just, lol this is what I remember vividly. This kid’s hormones are off the charts, but totally normal. Anyways. Austin’s parents fly out to Germany because his brother has been injured in war. While they are out there, he and Robby end up sneaking into Shann’s stepdad’s junk store when all of a sudden these bully, meathead type kids come in and knock over this jar of plague. FYI, the plague turns people into unstoppable killing machines, and they look like bugs. And so, this is about the people of Ealing, Iowa but mostly Austin and Robby and Shann trying to live through the end of the world and overcome the bugs. There’s a lot of sexual confusion, humor, a dog that poops a lot and doesn’t have vocal cords, and good Iowa names. This book is totally weird you guys, I really, really liked it.

How’s The Characterization?

Oh man. I feel like the worst at descriptions at this moment. To me, Austin and Robby and Shann are cool. Like Austin and Robby smoke cigarettes and drive around and skateboard. Shann is forthright about her feelings, like when she tells Austin that she thinks Robby is in love with him, Austin’s like is something wrong with that? And Shann is actually really upset, which OF COURSE she would be, because Austin’s her boyfriend. Austin is cool, like I said, but also weird and very, very observant. He can be kind of repetitive, but I think that’s supposed to be motif and such. I don’t know. I am not a literature expert by any means. Anyways, what I am getting at is that Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith has got characters that are interesting and weird and just kind of out there.

How’s The Narration?

In all honesty, it took some time for me to get used to the narrator of Grasshopper Jungle, Philip Church. At first, I thought I accidentally had the speed up on the iTunes player, like at 2X, but no, the narration is really that fast. Like, it felt like listening to an auctioneer or something. You guys, I am from New York, I talk fast and even I had trouble picking up everything the narration was saying. I think this audiobook would have been better if the narrator would have slowed it down a bit, at least so the words didn’t sound garbled. Eventually I got used to it. Like, the tone works for Austin and for the story, it’s just the speed. I think that if you listen to the audiobook, a protip would be to have a print or ebook copy at hand so for the parts that are WAY TOO FAST you can just re-read via print. I got lucky that I had both on hand.

Who Would I Recommend This To?

I would totally say READ GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew Smith if you are a fan of Kurt Vonnegut, because of the repeating phrases and themes. Like, I kept expecting this book to bust out a “So It Goes.” Or you know a “Ting-A-Ling.” I also think if you are into B movies, you will like this book. Like if you’ve watched MST3K and laughed, you will totally be into this. Oh and people who like unconventional books. And people who are not prude. Basically, Grasshopper Jungle won’t be everyone’s favorite book ever and not everyone will like it, let’s be real, there’s a lot of talk about being horny and balls and sex and such, but in all, it’s creative and fun and I think if you can be laid back about that, you’ll like this.

Sum It Up With A GIF:

Never change, internet, never change.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. LOL–“what the youths call hype”. THEY DO!! And, if he’s hype or tight, then he’s a’right! I want to read this story for the interesting and quirky characters, if for nothing else.

  2. I have read a lot of reviews for this book and seriously have NO clue what it is even about. Besides a perverted kid LOL. Still I have no idea if I would like this book or not, but my curiosity is kinda killing me. I loved Winger, so I think I just have to read this one and see. Plus I saw this at the bookstore and it has really cool neon yellow pages!! I think I need to own it!

  3. Bahahahah, I love the comparison to “So it goes,” which I’m pretty sure I also put in my review. And, as you know, your gif does in fact win the internet. Nice work.

  4. Grasshopper Jungle sounds seriously weird. I don’t even think that I mean that in a bad way, more like a trippy, this is strangely entertaining one! I’m not sure I’d prioritize reading this personally, but I’ve enjoyed seeing how everyone has reacted to the strangeness of it 🙂

  5. Strange, unique, WTF concepts are TOTALLY my forte so I totally need to get my hands on a copy of this book. Like you, I tend to go for audio versions of books I’m not really sure about, however, it sounds like I might be better off checking out a print version here. If the narration is so fast that you can’t understand it, well, that’s kind of a problem.


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