Smith, A. (2014). Grasshopper jungle. NY: Speak.
Austin has two best friends, Robby who is a homosexual and his girlfriend Shann. Austin is also in love with both of his friends, which makes things complicated. Austin and Robby are beat up by bullies and Robby decides to try to write a message with his blood. They must go back later that night to retrieve their skateboards and shoes, which were thrown on a store roof during the altercation. Once on top of the roof they notice an entrance into the store in which Austin works, owned by Shann’s stepdad, Johnny. Inside Johnny’s office they discover some unusual displays. Little did they know these were going to be taken that night, broken in the parking lot and mixed with Robby’s blood. This mixture causes an outbreak of 6-foot tall praying mantises. These bugs are vicious and begin taking over the world by procreating and eating humans. Austin and Robby learn the only way to save the world is by exposing the bugs to Robby’s blood, but it is too late – the bugs have multiplied! Austin, Robby, Shann and family must now live in Eden, which is a hidden underground silo that was built as a safe haven. This science fiction, apocalyptic, fantasy is most appropriate for high school aged students. Students will see the ramifications of selfish acts in a greedy attempt to control the world. Austin, Robby and Shann must deal with how to save the world while dealing with the usual difficulties of being a teenager. My favorite quote: Shann said, “I love how you tell stories. I love how, whenever you tell me a story, you go backwards and forwards and tell me everything else that could possibly be happening in every direction, like an explosion. Like a flower blooming.” I would recommend this book to 9th graders and up.