Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
• August 30, 2016 • Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
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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.
I received this book for free from Penguin for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
First sentence: “When Katelyn Ogden blew up in third period pre-calc, the janitor probably figured he’d only have to scrub guts off one whiteboard this year. “
When your classmates start spontaneously combusting, you have a problem on your hands. That’s what happens to Mara Carlyle and her high school.
Seniors at Covington High School are blowing up for no particular reason. Is it because of drugs? A virus? Is it a terrorist attack? A government conspiracy? What is going on? These students are subjected to medical tests, quarantine, and media attention, but nobody—not the people living in the town nor the FBI—can figure out why these students are spontaneous combusting.
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