Title: Exile from Eden: Or, After the Hole
Author: Andrew Smith
Series: Grasshopper Jungle #2
Genre: YA science fiction
Release Date: September 24th, 2019
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Physical ARC received from publisher which did not influence my review
My rating: 5 stars
From New York Times bestselling author Andrew Smith comes the stunning, long-awaited sequel to the groundbreaking Printz Honor Book Grasshopper Jungle.
been sixteen years since an army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall
praying mantises forced Arek’s family underground and into the hole
where he was born; it’s the only home he’s ever known. But now,
post-end-of-the-world, the army of horny, hungry praying mantises might
finally be dying out, and Arek’s ready to leave the hole for good.
he has are mysterious letters from Breakfast, a naked, wild boy
traveling the countryside with his silent companion, Olive. Together,
Arek and his best friend Mel, who stowed away in his van, navigate their
way through the ravaged remains of the outside world.
This long-awaited sequel to the irreverent, groundbreaking Printz Honor Book Grasshopper Jungle is stunning, compelling, and even more hilarious and beautifully bizarre than its predecessor.
I loved this book by Andrew Smith. As usual, it was a total "boy" book. But I love that about it! While we started out and I was worried I might not remember who was who from the first book, Grasshopper Jungle, it was very nice that the main character, Arek, kept kind of reintroducing the other characters as he narrated the story. I liked so much about the story, all the different characters and viewpoints we got. It was towards the end when they all collided it seemed, and it was the perfect way to get them to meet up. Not a meet-cute since this isn't a romance, but is there another name for it? I don't know. Just know that it was a perfectly seamless way to fit the stories together. Now, in the first book we kind of got the background on how we got those giant praying mantises that were attacking, but in this one, I don't know that we ever find out exactly why they are changing or having issues, just that they are.
One thing that really stood out to me personally from the story is a note from the author at the back of the book. There is an artist that Arek is constantly referencing, Max Beckmann. Now I'd never heard of him before, but of course from this book I found I had to go look him up. What Smith talks about at the end is that Max Beckmann painted so many self portraits trying to maybe see who he was. Now the author also mentioned that he feels each of his own books are in a way his own self-portraits in a similar vein to Beckmann's paintings. That really stood out to me personally, because recently I realized a lot of the stories I write end up being kind of my own daydreams. Sometimes even starring me, just with different names and places. When I realized this, I also decided that this was okay. I remembered something another of my favorite authors once said, to write the book I want to read, she wrote her story for herself. And that's what I'm going to continue to do. While my books and writing are nowhere near as good as Andrew Smith's stories, I like that I'm not the only one who sees their writing this way.
Highly recommended, if you liked Grasshopper Jungle, you'll enjoy this as well!