Author: Aaron Starmer
Publication Date: August 31, 2016
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
“Katelyn Ogden was a lot of things, but she wasn’t particularly explosive, in any sense of the word.”
Mara Carlyle’s senior year at Covington High in suburban New Jersey is going on as normally as could be expected, until the day—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to spontaneously combust without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason—Terrorism! Drugs! Homosexuality! Government conspiracy!—while the seniors continue to pop like balloons.
Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it with tell-it-like-it-is insight as she tries to make it to graduation in one piece through an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, “Snooze Button™,” Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you’ve ever heard the President of the United States use over Skype.
Spontaneous was a weird book. The concept behind it, high school seniors spontaneously combusting, was disturbing yet surprisingly entertaining. I loved the way the story was set up with each chapter unveiling a little more. The writing was amazing and the entire book was so creative!
I loved Mara’s rambling point of view in Spontaneous. It was blunt and refreshing. Mara was a little witty and a lot snarky. Her flippant attitude was perfect for a teenage character. I enjoyed reading her thoughts and feelings throughout the entire book. The supporting characters were fun, too. I loved learning bits and pieces about them through Mara.
Spontaneous delivered an incredibly entertaining reading experience, but it was a little frustrating.The spontaneous combustion plot and the revelations that went a long with it were confusing at times. So much random information was given and then never really explained or dealt with. I was only partially happy with the ending because I still feel like I need certain answers.
Still, I did really enjoy the book. I would definitely recommend it to YA Contemporary readers who enjoy a strange story filled with cool characters and great writing.