Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer: Book Review


Obtained: Penguin Random House Canada, ARC
Pages: 368
Publish date: August 23, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

I was excited to read this book the moment I read the summary on the back cover – and was hooked after the first sentence. Spontaneous came into my life as a spontaneous surprise, and it was definitely a great one. I don’t remember the last time I was so captivated by a book I wasn’t already anticipating. I’ve been telling all my friends about this book, so now it’s your turn to listen to my raving.

Spontaneous begins with Mara in senior pre-calc, where all of a sudden, one of her classmates spontaneously combusts. She explodes all over her classmates. Everyone blinks, screams, flees the room. Thus begins the weird curse where senior students at Mara’s school are just randomly exploding. Pop. Gone. Is it drugs? Is it the atmosphere at the school? Is it magic? It is a government conspiracy? I guess you’ll have to read and find out.

This book was so amazing. Where do I begin. I guess I’ll start with the fact that I loved the tone of the novel. It’s sort of a ridiculous premise, so the mix of comedy and tragedy in this book is perfect. The plot can be strange, the characters can be funny, and yet the premise of what is happening to them can still be sort of dark and emotional, without it being an unbelievable story.

My favourite thing about Spontaneous was definitely the narrator. Honestly, I was really shocked when I saw a female protagonist in this story – I expected the dark comedy to star a male (as they so often do), but this protagonist made the entire story for me. Mara, along with all of her friends and family, are all so real. She’s funny; she experiments with drugs; she has strengths and faults; she’s the kind of girl who I can read about and imagine her as a friend I went to high school with, rather than some too-good-to-be-true female starring in my latest read.

If you’re looking for your next quality YA read that will make you laugh and still give you “All the Feels”, I highly recommend Spontaneous.

Spontaneous is available online at Chapters Indigo, Book Depository, and Kobo.


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