Monday 30 January 2017


Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer (Harper Collins Publishers)
PB RRP $19.99   ISBN 9781460753149

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Mara Carlyle’s senior year is more than unusual, full of explosive combustions of the senior students in a suburban New Jersey hometown. No one really knows why this is happening but the FBI rolls in and the seniors become quarantined and isolated, left to feel abandoned and forgotten.

The senior year students randomly blow up and death appears to be around any corner.  Squeezed in between all of this are the usual teenage crushes, groups, school performance, change and the heart-breaking moment you have to say goodbye to the best friend you love and adore.

Mara narrates the story in a smart sassy voice with the no-holds back on teenage language and feelings. The story is witty and funny, full of honest truths about being a teenager in the twenty first century. The characters are a real mish-mash of believable teenage personalities.  No topics are barred and the book is a place where a teenager reader can safely escape to while exploring issues in their world.

The ending brings with it a little bit of wondering but also acceptance of the fact that change is a part of life. Starmer holds nothing back in this bold in-your-face novel about growing up.  His idea is original and holds the reader’s attention.

“If a person invites you to watch a sunset, you go, don’t you? You don’t say jackshit about what’s cheesy or uninspired. So neither will I; I know now that sunsets are glorious things. And this one – this one!- is absolutely invigorating, a fucking gorgeous splash of red on the horizon that marks an end, one I always knew was coming”.

This book is a good read for young adults.

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