I had many issues with this. Repetitive, too insta-romance, the lead up to the climax of the book was so forced (and the character behind it so randomI had many issues with this. Repetitive, too insta-romance, the lead up to the climax of the book was so forced (and the character behind it so random) that it made me laugh with how obvious and ridiculous it was, and some of the lines were so cheesy, I shared them with friends.
Also, how does someone with all of Aiden's issues get over them so quickly? And how does Cameron just take his mistreatment and casual ignorance of what their relationship is actually leading up to without speaking up for herself? (In a proper way?)
(view spoiler)[There's a scene where Cameron, a woman with severe claustrophobia (which isn't truly explained, really), is told by Aiden to hide in a tiny closet so they don't get caught. I was expecting indignation, especially because he damn well knew how she felt about small, enclosed spaces.) I was expecting an actual and realistic response, but with a text saying "I'm sorry" and "I said I was sorry" any anger she held melted like her resolve whenever it came to Aiden. (hide spoiler)] He was an asshole and she was a pushover.
I may or may not have skimmed through many parts in this book.
This was really intriguing. The first half is a little slow, but so worth getting through it. The concept is really cool, making the second half fly bThis was really intriguing. The first half is a little slow, but so worth getting through it. The concept is really cool, making the second half fly by....more
This book has A LOT of potential behind it. Hopefully the second book will be much better.
At first, I was iffy about the premise, but it sort of begruThis book has A LOT of potential behind it. Hopefully the second book will be much better.
At first, I was iffy about the premise, but it sort of begrudgingly grew on me. The writing is beautiful, but in an almost pretentious way.
The middle of the book was...kind of boring...but the last few chapters of the book where everything kind of comes into focus are so riveting I couldn't put the book down. Oh man. I'm excited for the sequel.
Also, that final sentence? Badass. Brought countless badass film endings with powerful female characters to mind. I basically finished the book and dropped it, shouting "Oh, and she drops the mic!"
I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review--Any moments and/or quotes in thReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review--Any moments and/or quotes in this review are from an uncorrected proof.
Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer is a really, really odd book--probably the oddest book I've read all year. But with its oddity came bursts of comedy and surprisingly real commentary on the adolescent experience of having those in your grade spontaneously combust around you (the pun may or may not have been intended). While the protagonist's quirkiness may be something that takes some getting used to, I believe that this was an enjoyable read that some may love, and others may dislike.
To get the negative out of the way, I think that one of the main reasons why others may dislike this novel is because of the quirkiness of the protagonist, Mara. The plot is fascinating and unique, but her view of the world may be less than desirable for some. Also, her quirky storytelling may not be for everyone and while I was a fan, I can definitely see where the unusual storytelling might ruffle some feathers. Some readers like order and a dependable story form, which on occasion Spontaneous appears to override.
With that being said, however, the character relationships are great. Mara's friendship with her best friend, Tess, is inspiring (if not bordering on almost romantic, but perhaps I am reading too much into it). I liked that despite everything, they still kept it real and avoided the dramatic side-effects that some young adult friendships experience. Mara's parents were everything one might wish for if they were ever in a similar and unfortunate situation. I liked that they were there enough to not constitute as absent, but that they understood that their daughter was on the cusp of being an adult and not just a victim (not hovering parents).
Perhaps my favourite aspect of this novel is that Starmer is fantastic at similes and metaphors. He whips them out occasionally and it could all be thanks to his protagonist, who I admittedly learned to love...after a couple of sentences.
Mara's voice, in my opinion, is the perfect narration for the weirdness happening in Spontaneous. Her unpredictability, refusal to admit what she's feeling, and her unapologetic sense of humour both pulled me in, and made me realize how unreliable she can be. Mara is probably one of the realest high school Seniors I've read about in a long time, but there are moments full of self-pity and substance abuse that made her point of view sometimes blurry. Mara has sex, she's the occasional hardcore drinker, and she's tried a few drugs here and there.
I know it's not good to admire a character for these qualities, and okay, I don't actually admire her for them. The reason why these qualities seem important to me is that a) Mara is a TEENAGER who has life experiences beyond moping for a boy, or thinking about college (though, ok, that is sometimes a thought), b) Her sometimes destructive behaviour can be understandably linked to her situation, and c) her parents were really cool and realistic, but they were neither absent nor oblivious to her actions.
Does all of my fangirling about Mara mean that I didn't notice her imperfections? No. I still got annoyed by several of her actions. Her humour was great, but the self deprecation was sometimes a little too thick in some parts. Mara is a character who's easy to love and hate.
The storytelling is another thing I loved about Starmer's novel. He captures the craziness of the situation in how he breaks up the chapters and how he presents the chapter headings. There's a particular chapter where a kid blows up and it just sort of happens. This happens as if it's just a passing comment like "oh, he exploded. Okay," kind of thing, which is exactly how I'd imagine it would be if it happened in front of me as many times as it happens in front of Mara. Starmer both showcases Mara's sense of humour and the randomness of the spontaneous combustion by nonchalantly bringing up that another character has died before the end of a chapter, or by simply cutting a character's dialogue off.
The humour in this made me feel like a terrible person, I'm not even going to lie. I never thought that I'd read a novel that features spontaneously combusting teens and laugh while I turn the pages. Every time a kid exploded, I felt like I was there. Every time Mara made an off-colour joke, I was laughing. Even during situations that called for a straight face, I couldn't help but giggle. This book was just so silly and funny and different.
But like I mentioned earlier in my review, the humour was occasionally interrupted by beautiful choices of words, or descriptions. Underneath the grimness and Mara's darkly funny view of her world, Starmer's beautiful writing shines. He has the ability to make Mara, a character who is so hard to take seriously, into someone more aware than we previously thought. This is successfully done by instances where Mara will comment on the morbidity of her situation. There's a great quote in the ARC that I have that I absolutely love: "I used to think that sunsets were cheesy, that they were images of uninspired sentimentality" (Starmer). It may seem simple and very pessimistic, but I love the potential for truth under those words because everyone experiences things differently.
Written in surprisingly addicting prose, Spontaneous is a great fix for anyone wanting a dose of weird, especially if you've read Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. Starmer's novel is surprisingly quirky, real, and a darkly fascinating view into the life of a teenager who may or may not spontaneously combust like so many of her classmates.
I've been wanting to read this book since I first saw it at work. Though the protagonist isn't the greatest person at the beginning of the book, I urgI've been wanting to read this book since I first saw it at work. Though the protagonist isn't the greatest person at the beginning of the book, I urge readers to strive through that to the heart of this beautiful and adventurous novel.
Lies is probably, hands down, my favourite installment of the series so far. I'll probably change my rating of Hunger because until now, I didn't knowLies is probably, hands down, my favourite installment of the series so far. I'll probably change my rating of Hunger because until now, I didn't know just quite how amazing this series could get.
This book was full of intelligent writing and great character growth, showing us that no one is perfect and everyone is capable of following a less than desirable path. Lies also reminds me that these are just children trying to survive. For all of their scheming, destruction, biases, hatred, and inhuman behaviours, we have to remember to these are just children stuck in a horrible situation. Grant's third installment just puts more into focus how flawed these people can be because they're children.
I'm both excited and nervous for the next book. My heart is saying keep reading, but my mind is asking do you need the anxiety?
A little less intense than I was expecting, but not bad. I was very excited because I love ocean survival stories and the message this book gave2.5/5
A little less intense than I was expecting, but not bad. I was very excited because I love ocean survival stories and the message this book gave was a great one during society's addiction to thinking that being thin equals happiness, health, and the end all and be all of beauty.
The protagonist was, to be honest, kind of annoying. I liked that she was so body positive with herself and her self-conscious best friend, but there were times were she was just...okay, you know how sometimes you're watching a horror film and there's a main character who makes really dumb choices or is too attached to her humanity to not avoid situations because of sentimentality or do-gooderism? That was this girl.
I devoured the first half of the book, waiting for the big catastrophic event to happen and when it did, it felt strangely predictable and anticlimactic. I mean, some of the things the people did were completely messed up, but it was a lot tamer and a little too romance-centered for me to completely feel the terror.
Ha, I won't even touch on the insta-love and "manliness" of the male protagonist. Who forms such a connection with someone in like four-ish days that you're willing to sacrifice yourself, or decide that it is your life goal to protect them?
I think that I liked the potential of the story and I LOVE that there is a dual narrative, but there are so many little things that bugged me (also, some grammatical issues--okay, Dayla, be calm) that I found myself either giggling, or shaking my head at the end.
Okay, no more ranting.
The ending was kind of expected and I'm not surprised that it's the first in a series. Will I read it? I don't know. I'm a little disappointed with this one because her Monument 14 series started off a lot better, but hopefully the sequel will be a lot better.