Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

Dark, funny, and explosive (pun very much intended 😉 ), Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer was a roller coaster of a read. The gorgeous cover drew me in, but the story line was confusing.

Mara, a high school student, is in her senior year at Covington High when people start exploding. Literally exploding; spontaneous combustion. They explode without hurting anyone, except themselves, obviously, they don’t survive. After the third exploding person, it’s obvious that only Covington High seniors are the ones exploding. At first, the theories are relatively simple. A virus, faulty drugs, terrorists…

Until more and more people start exploding, and the theories start involving government war weapons, mutated genes, and the Illuminati. Everyone is terrified of these seniors, and they’re quarantined, examined, rounded up, imprisoned… but the explosions don’t stop. Mara knows it won’t be long until it’s her turn. The others realize this too. Soon, the surviving Covington High seniors are doing whatever they want. If their time is numbered, why shouldn’t they?

This book was at its best, bewildering. I suppose the explosions were some sort of a metaphor, but it wasn’t discussed, or explained. There was also many mature scenes in this book that were frankly not needed. Mara’s dark and sarcastic humour, and her relationships with friends and family were the only things I enjoyed reading about in Spontaneous.

Spontaneous gets 6/10 stars. While it was well-written, I found the plot unsatisfying and most of the characters shallow. The author tried to depict what teenage life was like but I couldn’t relate to most of Mara’s struggles. If you want to read something shockingly funny, and annoyingly perplexing, this is for you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend.