By Stephan Lee
June 28, 2013 at 01:50 PM EDT

In a young-adult literature landscape that can sometimes feel generically dystopian, author Andrew Smith has always delivered something wildly different. Smith’s The Marbury Lens followed a boy whose magic glasses allowed him to see an almost unbearably grotesque other-world; his most recent, Winger, gave us an uncommonly funny, envelope-pushing teen narrator. His seventh YA novel, Grasshopper Jungle (out Feb. 20, 2014), goes far into the absurd but promises to run as deep as this other novels. Seriously, check out the official plot description:

In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend Robby have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.

This is the truth. This is history.

It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.

Funny, intense, complex, and brave, Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from Polish emigration to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America into a groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner.

Giant, horny grasshoppers and Polish emigration in one novel? Does Grasshopper Jungle sound too crazy or just crazy enough?

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