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3.32  ·  Rating details ·  2,710 ratings  ·  663 reviews
A darkly funny and spectacularly original exploration of friendship, goodbyes—and spontaneous combustion.

Mara Carlyle’s senior year is going as normally as could be expected, until—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc.

Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last teenager to blow up without warning or explanation. As the seniors cont
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published August 23rd 2016 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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Gabriela I think it's all a metaphor of how many times and in how many ways a teenager can and has exploded. It can be drugs, suicide, alcohol, unhealthy patte…moreI think it's all a metaphor of how many times and in how many ways a teenager can and has exploded. It can be drugs, suicide, alcohol, unhealthy patterns... adolescence is a tough experience and many fail to "survive" it(less)

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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,710 ratings  ·  663 reviews

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Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: why-yes-i-ya

To describe how you feel after a girl explodes in your pre-calc class is a tad tricky.

when i read the first 30-odd pages of this book as a netgalley preview, i was AMPED. it had so many things i loved - spontaneous combustion, leonard cohen, bleak house, plenty of cussing and mara - a sarcastic narrator whose response to her schoolmates suddenly blowing up into little bloody pieces is not to be scared or sad, but to make completely inappropriate jokes, or deadpan the situation:

Here's what happe
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ready for one of the most unique concepts I’ve seen done in YA in years? Two words..spontaneous combustion. Do I have your attention? You heard that right…a book about people just randomly going KA-BOOM..exploding!! Pretty cool if you ask me. To make this situation even better, I am here to tell you that I was entertained through and through. There is this great level of dark humor almost on par with something like the movie Heathers.

Spontaneous follows Mara Carlyle, a senior at a New Jersey h
May 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bea-16, owned, arc
I got this as an ARC at BEA 16 and was very excited about it after sitting in on a YA panel.

Before I begin, I want to say that this book was original and it was addicting. That's where the good things end for me. Let me explain.

1 star It was definitely original. The author picked a unique premise and a unique situation. There were some points where it felt dystopian and some points where it felt like an FBI story, but mainly was rooted in realistic fiction. Which was interesting for this
I have never seen a book about spontaneous combustion, so I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis.

I loved Mara. She's snarky and maybe a little rude and a lot hilarious. I absolutely loved the relationship she had with her parents; the honesty between the 3 of them was perfect. Dylan was sweet and a little weird, but it really worked.

I could have loved this book, I could have been obsessed with it. However, there were some things that didn't get explained and some plot lines that didn't make

Here’s what happens when a guy blows up during your group therapy session that’s supposed to make you feel better about people blowing up. The group therapy session is officially cancelled. You do not feel better.
Okay, right off the bat, before we get into all the awesome things about this story, let me make one thing perfectly clear.

Some people are bound to not like this main character. 

She’s opinionated, and lazy, and morbid. She does drugs, falls in love too quickly, makes snap-ju
Aly (In Wonderland)
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aly by: Figgy
Here’s what happens when a guy blows up during your group therapy session that’s supposed to make you feel better about people blowing up. The group therapy session is officially cancelled. You do not feel better.

Spontaneous is, frankly, the weirdest, funniest, exquisitely-written books I've read so far this year. It's sad, but it wasn't even on my radar when it first popped up in Australia last year, and if it hadn't been for Figgy sending me a copy of this delightful book as a surp
Colleen Fauchelle
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-favorites
I gave this book 4 stars because the F Bomb was used alot and that took away from the reading experience for me. I don't mind some language but not when it is used alot.
When the first senior blows up there is a funeral and counceling for for the rest of the students in the class. But when more and more students combusts fear sets in to the school, then the town and then the country. The school is closed and the army is sent in to make sure all the students stay in the area.
The only people who st
Sylvie Bower
Why must I always trade the books I love for books that I dislike? This book was... Very strange. I thought it would be amazing five months ago when I read the sampler, but it turned out to be another book in which a male author depicts a terrible version of what a girl thinks and acts like. It also seemed like the author was relying too heavily upon the concept of spontaneous combustion instead of actually focusing on developing more realistic and compelling characters and making sure the plot ...more
Felicity Jackson (gowithflick)
This was such a great read! The idea is really thought provoking and the narrator is hilarious. I love this author's writing style! I'd give it a 8 1/2/10 only because I don't know how I feel about the ending but overall it was awesome! ...more
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of the movie Heathers which makes me the perfect reader for this book. It's funny, in that dark, morbid way that Heathers is. It's smart and subversive, snarky and serious. It is, in short, a highly enjoyable read for anyone whose humour skews toward the darker side. (Kids spontaneously exploding is hilarious, no matter what you say.)

HOWEVER. There's a lot of talk about the origins of the "curse" and the true motives of Rosetti and neither one of these major plot threads gets res
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010s, fiction, apocafic, ya
Spontaneous is a perfect storm of a wild, outrageous, horrifically compelling concept (a plague of spontaneous human combustion starts moving through the senior class of a New Jersey high school) and an insanely compelling narrator who grabs you by the heart (/throat/balls as you see fit) from page one and never lets go. This is the book I wish Grasshopper Jungle had been, but wasn't; it's the feminist rebuttal to that book, a tribute to female friendship. It's also completely unlike anything el ...more
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNFing on page 64. I just don't get this book. Something is off with the voice for me. It tries too hard to be funny and it's not funny. It flows well, but I keep finding myself zoning out and losing interest, and if that's happening this early on...oy.

I read some spoilers because I was trying to decide whether I wanted to set this one aside or not, and based on what I've read I think it's a good decision for me to let this one go.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
this book deserves a 4/4.5 because i'm not overly sure on the ending- if i'm being honest! But still this book was hilarious and a fantastic quick read ...more
Aimal (The Devils We Find)
This is the review of an ARC of Spontaneous.

Mara was in pre-calc class with the rest of her fellow seniors at Covington High when Katelyn Ogden blew up. The fact that she was Turkish didn’t help. And even though they didn’t find a bomb or any explosives or anything (she had just spontaneously combusted), people pointed fingers. The senior class was scarred for life, and so began a time full of soft nothings and therapy sessions- that is when an Asian-American student blew up during one of those
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Thanks to First Reads for providing a complimentary e-copy of SPONTANEOUS in exchange for my honest review.

Classmates spontaneously combusting around high school senior Mara resulting in local and national fear. Soon the entire class is isolated while scientists and FBI agents try to determine the cause. Virus? Terrorism? Aliens?

Full disclosure, I would have never chosen SPONTANEOUS, if not for being given a free copy after reviewing another book from First Reads. I felt obligated to read this n
This definitely ranks in the top three on the "worst books I've ever read" list. Not only was there way too much gratuitous teenage swearing and drinking and drugs and sex for my (admittedly prudish) taste, but the story was just really dumb. A vague half-plot that didn't know whether it was actually a plot or just a vehicle for all the aforementioned hedonism. I was truly disappointed when the protagonist survived at the end. Seriously, the only good thing to come out of reading this book was w ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
If you like pretentious protagonists, a boring ass plot, characters who seem to not even give a shit that their classmates blow up right in front of them, and no explanation as to why students are spontaneously combusting (yes, you heard me, you spend the whole book trying to figure out why, but you get no conclusion honey, in fact, you get a million 'conclusions' as if it's a choose your own ending type ordeal), then this book is the book for you.

I don't even know how I managed to get through t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bea
Mara Carlyle's class is thrown into chaos when Katelyn Ogden explodes in the middle of third period calculus. After Katelyn's untimely demise more seniors start blowing up. After suspecting terrorism, suicide, and other sundry conspiracies, the town of Covington soon realizes that the high school seniors are falling victim to spontaneous combustion.

No one knows why it's happening. No one knows who might be next.

All Mara and her best friend Tess want to do is make it to graduation in one piece. B
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a sneak preview of this book.

I had never heard of this book or this author before seeing it on NetGalley, but as soon as I read that it was about people spontaneously combusting, I knew I had to read it.

So, the portion of this book I was sent to read was hilarious. The main character is a teenage girl, and all around her people are blowing up. For seemingly no reason. We don't get to find out anything about WHY this is happeni
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this one on the train ride home from BEA 2016 and, dudes, it is incredible! Now, this isn't going to appeal to everyone. Mara's snark is legendary in level and there are NO easy answers or explanations. This goes dark, it has one of the best descriptions of sex in it I have ever read, and it has teenagers acting with with desperate behavior in an extreme situation. I highly recommend this for readers who love AS King. Now, to go add all of this guy's books to my TBR list.

I love the cover
Jan 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I just don't get this book. I liked the beginning actually, with spontaneous human combustions and all that going on but that's it. A lot of things didn't make sense to me and a whole lot of other things were not explained. Also the ending. That type of ending just doesn't work for me. ...more
Review 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 inten
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Oh boy. This book was a major disappointment for me. I was expecting a book about spontaneous combustion with a funny tannage lead but it turned out to be a coming of age book where spontaneous combustion is either in the background or a thingy veiled plot device. The tag line says : “ A book about growing up... and blowing up” well forget about the blowing up part.
All of this could be forgiven if it weren’t for the other faults in the book: the lead got annoying and she didn’t feel like a teena
So, I picked up two copies of Spontaneous at BEA 2016, because it was one of my most anticipated books of 2016. I mean, spontaneously combusting teenagers, how can you not be just a little bit intrigued by that premise? And I've got to say, this was one hell of a ride. It's wasn't wild necessarily, but it was claw-your-eyes out boring either. I don't think I've ever read a book like Spontaneous, because I don't think there's a book out there with a message like Spontaneous.

So, the first thing yo
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
I got sucked in by the John Green quote (whom I love), but this book didn't do it for me.

Original, yes. I can't say I've ever read anything like SPONTANEOUS. The writing is good and very conversational. My only issue with the writing is that despite being told from a girl's POV, it felt like a guy was writing it (if that makes sense. I've read plenty of male authors writing this way, John Green's FIOS for example, that believably pulled off a female POV, but this didn't for me).

It's such a weir
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
actual rating - 4.25/5
this book was freaking hilarious and often had me snorting with laughter! the writing style is quite similar to that of 'me and earl and the dying girl,' just if you replaced a girl at your school with cancer with multiple girls at your school exploding randomly in your maths class or your daily yoga lessons etc. yes, it does have a ridiculous plot that seems real stupid at first, but it's worth reading, I promise! (you really can't go wrong with a smart-arse teenage narra
I received a free excerpt from the publisher.

It was enough to see that I have no wish to finish the story.

Not all main characters are meant to be liked. In this story, Mara openly acknowledges that she's a snob.

However, she was simply far too snotty that if I knew her in real life, I'd leave the room rather than tolerate the nastiness she emanates.

Not recommended at all. There's nothing admirable about her. I dread the example that she sets as well.

May 07, 2016 marked it as to-read
described to me as a middle school version of a John Green+ Andrew Smith voice, so I am excited to read this one
Jessa Franco
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Original, addicting, and generally fantastic. Best of the BEA 2016 ARCs I have read, yet.
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