by Aaron Starmer
Date: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
“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.
I am always up for a twisted read and I believe I got just what the doctor ordered with SPONTANEOUS by Aaron Starmer. I know it may seem difficult to imagine how spontaneously exploding humans could seem like a worthy read but believe me this book will take you to places you never imagined and you will experience a mind blowing story that will stay with you long after you have finished it.
As I began reading SPONTANEOUS I knew I would be in for a rare treat of a read because the dialogue was spot on witty and it's main character Mara Carlyle had the right amount of snark and sentiment that kept me engaged and feverishly reading until the very end...
Mara Carlyle is living like most teenager's in their senior year of high school, young and careless, until the most bizarre occurrence when one of her classmate's spontaneously combusts. It is bizarre enough but life goes on...until another student combusts and then another and then it is anything but fun. Mara tries to drown out with other forms of amusement until she contacted by someone who has some theories about the recent explosions. Soon Mara's world expands and romance blooms in the most unlikey of places yet it all seems to fit when feel as if your a living bomb, ready to dentinate at any moment. Just when you think that surviving high school is difficult enough.
Then a particular explosion shatters Mara's world and she begins to really look into herself and the meaning of life and all the complications that come with it. That is when we really seem to look into Mara and realize that she is not as tough as she seems, that she is vulnerable and emotional like everyone else but she lives her life keeping everyone at bay even her boyfriend that she does not think she really loves.
Although this book was not something I would have eagerly picked out to read, I ended up enjoying it for the darkness that it presented. What we do when all that we have known is forever altered is fascinating to witness and it makes me question myself and my motives. Now, that is what a good book should make you do and believe me SPONTANEOUS by Aaron Starmer does that very well.