Picture this: you are trying to get on with living a classic coming of age story. You are making your way through high school, juggling friendships and first romances and looking forward to graduation and prom. And then… everyone starts blowing up.
Spontaneous is the story of some very ordinary teenagers in a very ordinary New Jersey town. But one day, without warning or explanation, Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period. She is the first, but she definitely isn’t the last. This is a book where spontaneous combustion is the norm.
If you are bored with what YA has to offer, this is as different as it gets.
Our protagonist, Mara Carlyle, puts a darkly humorous perspective on events. Seriously guys? Just stop blowing up. But even she eventually has to come to terms with the possibility of her own spontaneous combustion and that of her closest friends. Mara’s narration is unique and distinctive, and may prove to be a bit of a marmite situation (think Catcher in the Rye and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl). For the first fifty pages I worried that her voice was going to inhibit my enjoyment of the book, but, for the next two hundred and fifty, it was her raw and bold narration that made it.
There’s also a love story thrown in for good measure. I loved how Starmer resisted any temptation to make the romance too perfect. There are problems from the outset and while one heart is fairly empty, the other is bursting with love. No, really. Literally bursting. Exploding. Combusting. Kabam!
This is Aaron Starmer’s debut YA and its absurd and unique premise has already thrown it into the spotlight in the US. It was a TIME magazine Top 10 YA Book of 2016 and film rights have been secured.
To ‘wrap it up, short stuff’: A bizarre concept, dark humour and just the right amount of gore. Read it!
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Claire Maxwell at Canongate and Aaron Starmer for letting me be part of this blog tour!