Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Andrew Smith’s brand new coming-of-age young adult dystopian novel Grasshopper Jungle was just optioned for film by Sony Pictures.

For those unfamiliar with the book (which Entertainment Weekly rated with an A-), here’s the synopsis:

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.
You know what I mean.

Funny, intense, complex, and brave, Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from testicle-dissolving genetically modified corn to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America in this groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner.

Reviews for the book make no bones about this being a story about a teenagers coming to terms with their emerging sexuality. It also has giant bugs.

The story is being adapted by Scott Rosenberg, screenwriter for such films as Con Air, Beautiful Girls and High Fidelity. Deadline describes it as Stand By Me meets Attack The Block.

MIND MELD: Blurring the Lines in Genre Fiction

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

I love novels that can walk the lines of multiple genres, so, in that spirit, I asked our panelists these questions:

Q: As a writer, why do you think it’s important to step outside of your comfort zones when writing, perhaps to explore other genres? What books have you read that blur the lines between genres and do it effectively?

Here’s what they had to say…

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger and The Marbury Lens. 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 is his seventh novel, followed by 100 Sideways Miles, his eighth, coming in September 2014. He lives in Southern California.

I honestly do not think of “genres” at all when I write. I also don’t envision a targeted audience. I know that this goes against the philosophy of the majority, but it’s how I write. I write the story that pleases me, and I write it entirely for myself. I’m not a big fan of “comfort zones” when writing, either, because being comfortable sounds too much like sticking to the same old formula. I like to experiment with plot, narrative style, content, and structure every time I start something new. This is frequently challenging, but it keeps things interesting, too. I don’t like feeling bored or boxed in by a particular brand. So it’s always been the most difficult thing for me to precisely categorize any novel of mine in terms of genre and what it might be comparable to.

I think a lot of Vonnegut’s work scatters across the constraints of genre. I also admire Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume and Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. In terms of YA literature, I’m a big fan of A.S. King’s work.

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