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Book Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

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Title: Spontaneous (2017)
Author: Aaron Starmer
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Humour and Fiction
Publisher: Canongate Books
Release Date: 4th May 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆
Reviewed by: Lois


Mara’s senior year is proving to be a lot less exciting than she’d hoped, until the day – KABAM! – Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to explode without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason, while the students continue to pop like balloons. But if bombs or terrorists or a government conspiracy aren’t to blame, what is?

With the help of her oldest friend, her new boyfriend, a power ballad and a homemade disco ball, will Mara make it to graduation in one piece? It’s going to be one hell of a year, where the only test is how to stay alive and where falling in love might be the worst thing you can do . . .


This YA book has one of the most unique concepts for a narrative I have ever seen, spontaneous combustion. I was not let down by this book after going in with such high expectations. Spontaneous is full of hilarious dark humour which entertained be throughly.

I first heard about Spontaneous whilst watching one of John Green’s videos on YouTube. John Green praised this book very highly which got me interested. After reading the synopsis I knew I had to read this book. The only problem was that I had to wait over a year before I had the chance to read this book as it wasn’t out in the UK. Thanks to Netgalley I didn’t have to wait that long.

I loved the main character of this book, Mara. She is hilarious and so sarcastic. I was a big fan of her dark humour. It made a change to have an author write things that aren’t all fine and dandy. The dark humour that Mara had really added to my enjoyment of this book. Mara’s relationship with her parents is well written. It is nice to read a book where the parents are involved in the story and have a good relationship with their child. Dylan is a lovely character, a little weird sometime though and I liked the relationship he has with Mara even though it did seem to come out of nowhere. Tess was another character I was a fan of but also a character I had issues with.

Mara and Tess are inseparable at the start of the book and their relationship is wonderful. Even when Mara starts her relationship with Dylan this doesn’t come between her relationship with Tess. Tess just fizzles out of the narrative with a very vague explanation as to why.

I can definitely tell why John Green recommended this book as there are a lot of similarities in his and Aaron Starmer’s writing. One example is the characters talking about the “what-ifs”. I have to mention my favourite quote from this book, “Here’s what happens when a guy blows up during your group therapy that’s supposed to make you feel better about people blowing up. The group therapy session is cancelled”. You do not feel better.” There is something about that quote I just love.

Overall, I loved this book. It’s unique concept really worked and was interesting and intriguing throughout. I cannot recommend this book enough if you are looking for something unique and full of dark humour.

Thank you to Aaron Starmer, Canongate Books and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Be sure to check out Book Depository using my link here: Loisreadsbooks

Find us on Twitter @loisreadsbooks,on Goodreads here on Bloglovin’ here and don’t forget to follow us!

Until next time,



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