My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Received: Random House Canada
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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 don’t know what happened. I was having a blast with this book. Alright, maybe not a blast per se, but it was enjoyable; it was fun, even funny from time to time, its humour comparable to the one in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and; it just felt original.
Until it wasn’t anymore.
I did get to page 110, so the good doesn’t just vanish in a turn of page, but something did happen. I don’t know if it was me who suddenly didn’t find Mara as honest and enticing anymore, or if it was the book’s fault.
It was the book’s fault.
I’m actually still a little befuddled by how quickly the romance appeared in the plot. THAT came out of the blue. Mara was single… and then she wasn’t anymore. What the hell?
And though the whole spontaneous combustion thing had its appeal at first, other people trying to link it to immigrants and gay people kind of drowned my excitement. It was a bit unclear whether the author was trying to send a message through those ka-booms, but I guess I didn’t get far enough to know for sure.
But whatever, I had to put a stop to my reading, because Mara was driving me insane with her all-over-the-place thoughts and spontaneous love story. Bleh. Plus, to be fully honest, and I know this is a weird thing to say, but she didn’t exactly have the voice of a teenage girl.
A lot of people are going to frown at me for saying this, but she had the voice of a teenage boy. I know, I know, how dare I say such a thing—everyone has a different voice, and what does it even mean to have a ‘‘boy voice?’’ You crazy, Lola.
But that’s how I felt. And it was contrived, like the author was trying too hard.
Hmm, I wonder if she explodes at the end, too. I wish I were one of those people who feel comfortable reading the ending of a book without even having read the whole story, but I am not. Too bad.
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