Remember how I said I had another Aaron Starmer book coming up soon, in my review of The Riverman? Well thanks to Harper Collins Australia, I also get to give you the chance to WIN a copy of said Aaron Starmer book: new release YA read, Spontaneous!
So you know what you’re getting yourself in for, here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
Mara Carlyle’s senior year is going as normally as could be expected, until—wa-bam!—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 rulebook 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.
Yep, you read that right. This book features multiple spontaneous combustions and the resulting messiness that accompanies such a phenomenon. The copy of the book that I will be giving away even comes with a free splatter jacket for your convenience!
So, Spontaneous. I would be lying if I said I enjoyed it as much as I did The Riverman – the two books are wildly different in narrative style – but Spontaneous has a gory, bizarre charm all its own. The book reminded me strongly of Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn, in that it hinges on one absolutely wacky and unexpected concept – in this case, spontaneous combustion of students in a particular high school class – and tries to wring an entire novel out of the same.
Mara, the narrator, has a serious problem with flight of ideas. As a storyteller, she’s all over the place, hopping from topic to topic like a bunny trapped in a geodesic dome constructed entirely of springs, in a manner that readers will either find hilarious or extremely irritating. There are some genuinely funny scenes and one-liners here, but I’m pretty sure some readers will find Mara’s rapid changes of topic tiresome after a bit. Apart from Mara, characters include Dylan, a mysterious and possibly delinquent boy that Mara immediately falls for (which, rather than being a case of insta-love, seems to just be how Mara rolls), and an X-files-esque FBI agent who Mara may or may not have an unhealthy fascination with. I won’t mention any other teen characters because I don’t want to spoil the surprise when one or another of them goes pop when you least expect it.
Overall, I found this to be a fun, if utterly outlandish, read and I would recommend it to those of you who are stout of heart and happy to just go with the flow as the world of your current read falls down (or blows up, as the case may be!) around you.
If you are still game to have at Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer, then click on the Rafflecopter link below to try your luck. One winner will win a copy of the book plus a splatter jacket. This giveaway is open internationally and other Ts & Cs are in the Rafflecopter.
Until next time,