Book Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

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Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Published Date: August 2016
Genre: Contemporary, YA,
Series: Stand Alone
My Source: Own Copy
Links: Goodreads
Review Also On: Goodreads and Amazon

Goodreads Summary:

“Katelyn Ogden was a lot of things, but she wasn’t particularly explosive, in any sense of the word.”

Mara Carlyle’s senior year at Covington High in suburban New Jersey is going on as normally as could be expected, until the day—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to spontaneously combust without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason—Terrorism! Drugs! Homosexuality! Government conspiracy!—while the seniors continue to pop like balloons.

Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it with tell-it-like-it-is insight as she tries to make it to graduation in one piece through 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 the President of the United States use over Skype.

***Note: I finished this book in January and wrote some key notes about it, but I didn’t sit down and write my review until February. Days after the Parkland tragedy. I contemplated whether I should post this review for this kind of book so soon after this event. And because I was going back and forth, I didn’t publish the review until now. While it’s not about a shooting, it is a story focusing on high school students dying. This book is a comedic coming-of-age piece, but current events can make this book difficult to read. I will leave my original review below because overall I still feel the same way about it. The book while frustrating at first, I really enjoyed. But I do want to take this moment to say that you may wish to wait to read this book if you need more time to process things that have been happening recently. It does get a bit graphic and I just wanted to give a friendly warning.***

Let me start this review by saying I have the most confused feelings about this book.

Mara was definitely a character that I had to get used to. At first, her sarcastic personality was annoying me because she was sarcastic ALL THE TIME. And when I was getting some pretty important exposition, she would make a sarcastic comment and I just wanted to shush her. There are also times when she jumps from one thing to the next. There is a character Dylan who shows up. On one page, he’s barely mentioned. Thirty pages later, he comes back and he’s important. I wish I got the confrontation/conversation between Mara and Dylan that led to him becoming an important character. I was just sort of forced to accept Dylan in the story. Still, even with these issues, I grew to like Mara more. Do I have major love for her? I wouldn’t say that, but she became a better character for me as the story continued.

There’s so much I want to talk about with this book, but I don’t want to spoil anything. I was frustrated with this book, but I’m okay with that. I didn’t get all the explanations I wanted, but I’m also okay with that. I’m still trying to figure out if this book was showing that friendships don’t last forever, or if it’s saying you have to work harder to make them last. Or both?

So, I’ll give this fair warning. Don’t expect to come out of this book with everything solved, explained, and pretty with a little bow on top. It ends with a lot of uncertainty. Maybe that’s to symbolize how life is uncertain. You’re not sure what will happen, so you have to live the best life you can. The last few pages ends on a heart-wrenching scene though. Alone or left behind…I’m not sure which is worse.

I want to give this four stars, but I feel so much and I don’t know what to think. Would I read this again though? Yes.

3.5 or 4 Stars (I don’t know okay!!) ~ A good book that has a nice YES factor to it. / Oh man, this was a great book. Will be recommending.

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Top Ten Tuesday #21 : Can’t Believe I Read

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Hey everyone! It’s a Tuesday, so it’s time I start (again) a Tuesday routine. In case you didn’t know, Top Ten Tuesday has been moved from the Broke and The Bookish’s website to That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s a meme/challenge/chance to talk about a certain topic. Anyone can participate, and if you wish to leave a link to your post so others can read it, follow the link above to the page, and you’ll find more information and future topics.

This week’s topic: Can’t Believe I Read…

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Alive by Scott Sigler ~ I still haven’t posted my review for this, and who knows if I will. But I was so disappointed with this. I only finished it because I was talking with my coworker about it and she was very entertained by my hysterical rants. Just lots of walking and sexual desires that seemed unnecessary.

Dust by Joan Frances Turner ~ Another book I only finished for my coworker’s enjoyment. Horror isn’t really my genre when it comes to books, but I can handle zombies in certain situations. Lots of questions left unanswered, actions in the book were predictable, and too much describe of the decay. Wish to read my full review, click HERE.

Dream A Little Dream by Kerstin Gier ~ I saw this book everywhere and decided to try it out. Didn’t turn out like I thought it would, and just wasn’t doing it for me. My full review, click HERE.

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Tangerine by Edward Bloor ~ Had to read this for my first year in high school. I struggled the whole summer to read this. And let me tell you, I love to read now and I loved to read then, so if it took three months for me to read this book, you know something was wrong. Just nope nope nope.

Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer ~ When I read these in high school, I didn’t see anything wrong with them. I was Team Edward all the way. If I imagine the scene when Edward walks into the cafeteria for the first time, I can still hear all the fangirls screaming in my head. Now that I’m older, I have learned the error of my ways.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ~ Another high school read. Just couldn’t really get into this one. Didn’t help that my teacher made me write in the book. Just torture every day.

I know, not ten books. But hey, six isn’t bad. And here’s a little bonus in the category: Can’t Believe I Read/ What Did I Read?

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The Final Warning (Maximum Ride #4) by James Patterson ~ I was a huge fan of the Maximum Ride series, but this book made me so angry that I stopped reading them. It took a completely different turn from the rest of the series, and I was just done. And I wasn’t a fan of the movie they made for the first book either.

So, there you have it. A few books that I can’t believe I read. But that’s the fun of it right. Some of them, I enjoyed when I first read them, and now that I’m looking back, I seem them in a completely different way. Who knows, maybe I should reread Tangerine and I may like it this time. I don’t see myself doing that very soon, but…it could happen.

What are some books that you can’t believe you read? Do you think I should give any of the above a second try? It has been a while since I read most of these. Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, my fellow adventurers!

Top Ten Tuesday #19: YA Fantasy Added to My TBR

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Hey everyone! It has been a while, hasn’t it? Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week, the topic is share your recent books added to your To-Be-Read list from a certain genre. Looking at my TBR, I’ve put a lot of fantasy books recently, so I’ll be sharing those: Continue reading