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Extended Audio Sample Spontaneous Audiobook, by Aaron Starmer Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Aaron Starmer Narrator: Alex McKenna Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2016 ISBN: 9780735288027
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A darkly funny and spectacularly original exploration of friendship, goodbyes—and spontaneous combustion.

Mara Carlyle’s senior year at Covington High in suburban New Jersey is going on as normally as could be expected, until the day—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to explode without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason—Terrorism! Drugs! Homosexuality! Government conspiracy!—while the seniors continue to pop like balloons.

Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it with tell-it-like-it-is insight as she tries to make it to graduation in one piece through 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 the President of the United States use over Skype.

Aaron Starmer rewrites the YA rulebook in Spontaneous, 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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Quotes & Awards

  • “Skillfully welds sharp humor, deep loss, and roaring escapades. Truly the smartest and funniest book about spontaneous combustion you will ever read.”

    John Green, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Wildly inventive.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “[A]comically surreal novel that will blow your mind.”

    People magazine

  • “A wholly original YA tale of identity, friendship, love, lust, and gory, grisly death.”

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “A blood-soaked, laugh-filled, tear-drenched, endlessly compelling read.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Appeals directly to readers’ senses of horror and humor.”

    Horn Book Guide

  • “Best described as quirky, Alex McKenna’s narration makes the unbelievable believable. Listeners may feel like they’re are sitting at the Food Court conversing with other teens. While the story twists in horrific ways, it’s also humorous and realistic. Through tone and inflection, distinct personalities emerge—from the quiet, misunderstood male to the overachieving, ever-good-natured best friend. One can hear each eye roll, dismissive shake of the head, and flick of the wrist, and the wriggling bounces of excitement prevalent in high-school storytelling. Teen listeners will most likely appreciate these somewhat heavy-handed but age-appropriate oral gestures.”


  • A 2016 Time Magazine Top 10 Books of the Year for YA and Children
  • An ALA Top Book of Fiction for Young Adults
  • An Entertainment Weekly “Must Read” Selection
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About the Author

Aaron Starmer is the author of numerous novels for young readers, including the The Riverman and The Only Ones. He attended Drew University and received his masters in cinema from New York University.

About the Narrator

Alex McKenna is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator and a television and film actress best known for her role as Abby Macy in the television series Crossing Jordan.