A darkly funny and spectacularly original exploration of friendship, goodbyes - and spontaneous combustion.
Mara Carlyle's senior year is going as normally as could be expected, until-wa-bam!-a fellow senior, Katelyn Ogden, explodes during third period pre-calc.
Katelyn is the first, but she won't be the last teenager to blow up without warning or explanation. As the seniors continue to pop like balloons and the national eye turns to Mara's suburban New Jersey hometown, the FBI rolls in and the search for a reason is on.
Whip-smart and blunt, Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it while trying to make it to graduation in one piece. It's 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 from the President of the United States.
Aaron Starmer rewrites the rule book with Spontaneous. But beneath the outrageous is a ridiculously funny, super honest, and truly moving exemplar of the absurd and raw truths of being a teenager in the 21st century...and the heartache of saying goodbye.
Let me first say that this book grabs your attention, right off the bat. The first sentence describes a girl blowing up in her pre-calc class and how the janitor "probably figures he's only have to scrub guts off one whiteboard this year."
I requested this book a few months ago. However, there was an issue with the download link that took a while to resolve and get a new one. So, it inevitably got pushed way back on my TBR list, and by the time I started reading it, I'll admit that I forgot what it was supposed to be about
The book starts with Katelyn, the super-smart, weed-smoking senior blowing up in the middle of class. The news blames terrorists, at first, because she was Turkish, even though both of her parents were born in the US and no one else was hurt and nothing else even remotely explosive was found.
It wasn't Mara's "year to blow things up. It was her year to blog things off, perhaps her last change in her lie to say 'f*** it.' It was a lot of people's last chance to say 'f*** it,' as it turns out."
This book is written in first person, as if the main character is speaking directly to the reader. Here is how her senior year starts out: Once Katelyn blows up in pre-cal, another student blows up in the therapy group intended to make the students who saw the first "explosion" feel better. Needless to say, therapy was cancelled indefinitely.
This book was hilarious! Even things that would usually be mundane details are funny in this book. The author had me cracking up through the whole book!
I really enjoyed this book, but I'm not sure what I think about the ending. I get what the author was going for, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. It wasn't that I didn't like it, I just thought it should end differently, not that I can tell you how it should have ended differently... Maybe I just wanted everything wrapped up nice and tidy, with a pretty bow. Maybe he's leaving an option for a sequel... That, I would be happy with.
While it might not have been the ending I would have chosen, I totally wasn't expecting it, and I do love a surprise ending!
Overall, this book was awesome and funny and super creative. I would encourage anyone who wants to laugh*, but isn't afraid of a little spontaneous combustion, to read this book!**
*Disclaimer: If you do not like reading books with curse words, this book will probably upset you. I think it added to the humor, but it will probably piss some people off.
**Also, I must clarify that although the book talks about some occurrences that are pretty icky, it doesn't go into explicit detail about the gore that goes along with spontaneous combustion. Compared to the Library at Mount Char, this might as well be a Disney story. The gore in that one really sticks with you... Is it strange that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED that book, even though some of it really grossed me out? Sorry, off topic....
TL;DR: Read Spontaneous. You'll laugh, you might cry, but you (probably) won't want to puke.
I received this book from the publishers, via First to Read, in exchange for my honest review.