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 continue to pop like balloons and the national eye turns to Mara’s suburban New Jersey hometown, the FBI rolls in and the search for a reason is on.
Whip-smart and blunt, Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it while trying to make it to graduation in one piece. It’s 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 from the President of the United States.
Aaron Starmer rewrites the rulebook with Spontaneous. But beneath the outrageous is a ridiculously funny, super honest, and truly moving exemplar of the absurd and raw truths of being a teenager in the 21st century … and the heartache of saying goodbye.
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"Aaron Starmer skillfully welds sharp humor, deep loss, and roaring escapades. Truly the smartest and funniest book about spontaneous combustion you will ever read." — John Green, #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars
"A blood-soaked, laugh-filled, tear-drenched, endlessly compelling read." — Kirkus Reviews (★ starred review)
"A wholly original YA tale of identity, friendship, love, lust, and gory, grisly death." — School Library Journal (★ starred review)
“Wildly inventive.” — Entertainment Weekly “Must List”
“This comically surreal novel that will blow your mind.”— People Magazine
"(A) darkly funny take on teenage angst...Starmer’s originality and well-paced plot give needed life to a story filled with random death." — USA Today
"Bursting with heartache and gore, Mara’s narration appeals directly to readers’ senses of horror and humor." — Horn Book
"Aaron Starmer's wickedly funny and wrenching novel is surprisingly empathetic, especially for teens who don't mind a bit of gore and lust with their existential crises." — Shelf Awareness
"It's an irresistibly original premise for a story told in (an) achingly honest, darkly humorous, and occasionally acerbic voice." — Booklist
"Starmer adeptly uses his bloody, madcap premise to heighten just how much of life is out of our control, and how important it is to seize whatever time we’re given." — Publisher's Weekly