Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Quick Thoughts | Spontaneous

Rating ⭐⭐⭐

This is such a weird book.

It is definitely unique. I have never read a YA book, or any book actually, about people spontaneously combusting.

Yet that's exactly what starts happening during Mara Carlyle's senior year and no one has a clue as to why. There is no rhyme or reason to it; seniors just started exploding and there is no end in sight.

The seniors are put into a quarantine so the government can study them but they keep dying anyway and no one can figure out what is making these kids, in this suburb of Jersey, go BOOM! without warning.

Mara is wholly unlikeable. She's supposed to be, and gives no fucks once it is clear there is something strange going on - as if one spontaneous combustion wasn't the first clue. She does not care one bit what anyone thinks because she believes she is a ticking time bomb and could go off at any moment.

The ending is open-ended and I don't mind that. Some idea of what was going on and what made the kids explode would have been nice, but life does not always work out that way, so it was not a deal-breaker for me.

There were not any characters I was particularly attached to, not even Mara or the boyfriend who I now can't remember his name. The romance aspect was also a little weird, they didn't connect for me, and it was more like they were drawn to each other because of what was happening and not because they actually cared about each other.

It was a little slow at times, but some of the scenes I loved most were set in school when the seniors decided they needed to get back to normal. They were allowed to go to school and set it all up, and surprisingly people agreed to come teach them. It wasn't regular school, but it was more than they had.

In the end it was an okay read for me, but still definitely unique. On that basis I still recommend it.


  1. Looks like i enjoyed it more than you did. You are spot on though - it's WEIRD. I actually liked Mara - but I was channeling the actress from the movie (only seen trailers so far!) who I liked. I liked her (mostly absent) best friend too. The boyfriend was rather disposable in the book (I think he has a bigger part in the movie). The open-ended end [grin] annoyed me a bit but is, after all, more realistic. Generally things don't have neat endings. Of course the way it *did* end makes me hope for a sequel [grin]..... Most definitely unique!

    1. You definitely liked it more! I might have felt differently had I also seen the movie. The boyfriend situation was also just weird. I would probably still read the sequel though, even if I did not really like Mara, because I want to know WHY the kids were exploding.

  2. if i remember right, Samuel Johnson wrote an essay about this, spontaneous combustion in people, i mean...

  3. hello, thanks for stopping by. thank you for discovering this new book. have a nice day!

  4. Based on your description, it seems like weird is the appropriate adjective.

    1. Yep. So, so weird. CK also read the book, he liked it a lot more than I did. I can't find his review but it is there somewhere!


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