The Spectacular Now
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The Spectacular Now

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  13,859 ratings  ·  1,971 reviews
This National Book Award Finalist is now a major motion picture -- one of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance 2013, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller.

SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will pr...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Reynje
On finishing The Spectacular Now I feel hollowed out and slightly sick – not because the ending was bad but because as much as I didn’t want it to, it ended in probably the most realistic way it could.

Part of me wants to gouge whatever scraps of hope I can from the close of Sutter’s story, hold onto the hints that things can and will eventually change, because not doing that hurts so much. I want to pretend that last chapter doesn’t exist, but in way, it’s that last chapter that makes this book...more
Emily May


Okay... so I've been putting off this review because I was unsure about my rating. My initial reaction was FIVE STARS!! FIVE STARS!! but then I got to thinking about my dislike for the ending and thought maybe I should round it down to four... and then I was like "but is my problem with the ending because it was bad - or because it didn't go the way I wanted it to?"... so I eventually kept my five stars because I am so completely in love with the amazingly complicated and wonderful character th...more
Catie
Jul 08, 2011 Catie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Peep (Pop! Pop!)
Shelves: read-in-2011, ya, audio
I’m not sure if this book would have affected me quite as much if I didn’t know this boy. He is one of the people that I love the most on this planet, and he shares more DNA with me than anyone else. He’s intelligent, effortlessly popular, charming, kind, and entertaining. He has a big heart, fragile and exposed. We once spent hours in our backyard collecting slugs and setting them up in their very own tree stump castle. Once when he was facing a spanking, we schemed and plotted, arming ourselve...more
Karen
"Life is a big, screwed-up joke with its ups and downs. The best way to deal with it is to live in the now, pursue all the pleasure and deal with none of the grief."

That's the message I get from Sutter Keely, protagonist of The Spectacular Now. He takes a purely hedonistic, somewhat philosophical world view throughout the book. Tharp gives Sutton a clear, blunt, narrative voice but when it comes to character development, Sutter stays the same person from point A to point B, even with inserting...more
Alyssa
Life’s a party for Sutter Keely because he’s the life of the party. He’s the guy who has friends from every social circle, can get people laughing in awkward situations, and has a smile every time you see him. He’s the definition of “happy drunk,” and since he’s drunk all the time, he’s just a happy guy all around. He lets nothing get him down, not even when his “beautiful fat girlfriend” Cassidy dumps him or when Ricky, his best friend, starts to follow the clean route. Nope, nothing, not even...more
Katrina Passick Lumsden
Holy crap, this is a good book.

A heavy book. This is one of those books that I went into thinking it was going to be a romance with a message, but pretty all-around feel-good.

No. Nope. I mean, yeah, there's a message, all right, but this book isn't exactly a fluffy candy feel-good story. So don't go into it thinking it will be. It's funny and philosophical and introspective and reminiscent. Sutter's voice is so authentically teenager that it's obvious Tim Tharp never completely forgot that pha...more
Greg
This is a weird book. The book itself is pretty straight-forward, the narrator is a high school senior named Sutter who likes to drink and is the life of the party. The party to him though is all of life. He's always the life of the party even though most people probably don't realize the party is happening. He lives by the motto of 'embrace the weird', meaning just go with whatever happens and make the best of it. Part of his embracing whatever happens is knocking back enough whiskey to make th...more
Ariana
Here we go..



It would have been a 5stars book except for Aimee (I couldn't figure her out and she was a bit too naive for my taste; all that planning scared me to be honest.. and not telling anyone her secret? oh boy, that's just wrong) and the ending (which I still don't get, not really.. I might need to re-read the last page). Can I also have one more page please?

So.. a full review might follow - if I'll have some down time to write it *sigh* - but 'til then this is what I liked:

- Sutter - wit...more
ALPHAreader
Everyone knows that if you want a good time, you call Sutter Keely. He’s the guy with a bar in his boot, enough whisky in his flask to go round and he doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘embarrassment’. There’s no doubt that Sutter is the life of any party – but when it comes to relationships, he fizzes pretty quick. He’s accumulated a string of ex-girlfriends in his eighteen years, and remained friends with every single one of them. But right now he’s hoping to hold on to his current girlfrie...more
Kira
3.5 Stars

This is going to be one of those books that is totally subjective for everyone. Some people will absolutely love it, and some people will get to the end and think "WTF did I just read?" I fall somewhere in between the two.

Honestly, from the first page I was fully on board with Sutter Keely and watched his story unfold with a dreamy little smile on my face. He was abso-freaking-lutely adorable and I was rooting for him so hard. He made me laugh over and over again and I caught glimpses...more
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
The Spectacular Now is a strange sort of book. I want to lecture it, to give it my own personal big-sister talking to. In some ways I wanted to hate it because the way it almost glorified teenage drinking and partying.

But I can't. Because even if I don't agree with Sutter's methods, he feels like a real believable teenager. Sometimes it's brave for a book to portray drinking (I would call Sutter a teenage alcoholic but I don't think he would) without ever getting preachy or putting on the parent...more
Basuhi (Is not reading anymore)
2.5 Stars

-It was a tad too predictable with no real closure to go with.
-I don't like Sutter, he's that guy I cannot stand being with morph into that guy I cannot stand believing in.
-I don't like Aimee. She is too naive(?) for a 17 year old and simply too dependent on Sutter for everything which is actually worse than the nerd believing in equestrian fantasies before.
-The ending ? Was there one ? Sutter's drinking problem (Alcoholism like his isn't some piece of cake to quit). Aimee turning into...more
Jesse
Wow. I'm not sure how I feel about this book. I'm going to sleep on it. Full review to come!
Jackie "the Librarian"
Sutter Keely is a lot of fun. The life of the party! All his girlfriends have the greatest time with him. So, why do they all break up with him? Don't they LIKE having fun? So, he enjoys drinking - what's wrong with that? It's not like he's a mean drunk, at all.

As a reader, I felt like one of Sutter's girlfriends. At first, yeah, it was fun, if a little appalling, to read about Sutter's drunken adventures, giving a runaway kid a ride home while skipping school himself, meeting a shy newspaper de...more
Bethany
I just can't review this book without starting by saying, okay. The main character is a present-day teenager who thinks he's Jack Kerouac, although I seriously doubt he's ever read Kerouac, because basically, the kid is a loser. Except, of course, he thinks that he is amazing and fun and deep; in actuality, he's an alcoholic flake.

The entire time I was reading this book, I was irritated. By the main character, by his mother, by his sister, by his friends. I have to say, though, that the book wa...more
Keertana
I'd have never picked up this novel in a million years if it weren't for the fact that the screen writers of "500 Days of Summer" wrote the screenplay for the movie version of this novel. And Shailene Woodley, of course. It seems a little shallow to admit that, but it's the truth. I'm not a fan of Contemporary YA and I'm especially not a fan of novels about teenagers partying and drinking - which is, admittedly, a lot of what this book is.

Yet, the narration throughout this story is superb. Sutt...more
Bonnie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Source: Library Checkout

'Another spectacular afternoon. This weather is unbelievable. Of course, that probably means summer is going to be vicious again, but I'm not worried about that now. I was never big on the future. I admire people who are, but it just never was my thing.'

Sutter is spontaneous with a luring personality who lives life solely in the moment. Aimee is plagued by insecurity but has a mind that is saturated with dreams of the future. The two are an unlikely...more
Marla Mei
My Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

The Spectacular Now is just so genuine that it hurts. It just hurts in the worst possible way ever.

What shattered me the most was the book's ending. Did it really have to end like that? As much as I want more and even if it tore me to pieces and left me wanting so much more - for Sutter to get better, for him to finally change - I think, yes. Because knowing that if these things happen it will just wash away the realness of this book. That's what life is. It's a mess....more
Lynn
This book has taken me forever to read - not because it isn't outstanding - but because it is. Sutter is a character so beautifully realized that I could hardly bear read his story. I would read a few chapters and then I would have to put the book down for a while before I could go back to it. Tim Tharp has created a character so real that he felt like a member of my own family, the sense of him was so real that I could hardly bear to watch his tragedy unfold. This is a brilliant book and I doub...more
Zemira Warner
4.5 stars

Sutter's having the time of his life. He's skipping school, drinking and doing some light drugs (occasionally) when his girlfriend Cassidy suddenly dumps him after he was trying to do a good deed. His best friend, Ricky swiftly abandons him for his new girlfriend even though Sutter set them up. After a night of crazy partying he finds himself on Aimee's lawn. Since he's the Sutteman he sets of to help Aimee get a social life.

The first thing I loved about The Spectacular Now is that it's...more
kb
A teenage guy's longing to save everyone and everything except himself.

Wow, what happened to this? Everything seemed like a recipe for success - the plot, the issues, the messed-up realities, only that my appetite was not up for it. Sutter Keely started out like a dream character, troubled yet hopeful, but as the pages went by, he sounded more and more like an ass. I should have seen this coming since right off from the first chapter, he displayed a savior complex, which just annoyed me. I felt...more
Isamlq
Perspective. Someone in this book needs it. Then there's that ending that has me wanting. Wanting things to be better, wanting -him to be better, but also knowing both these thing unlikely.

What got to me early on in the book (through out the book in fact) is that it was sad how funny Sutter could be when not much else in this is actually funny. His obscure references to this or their random out there discussions could not disguise this. The kid simply broke my heart (that ending simply broke it...more
Chloe Lemieux
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp was not only realistic but a simultaneously engaging novel that not only kept me on my toes in my mind but also in my heart. The story of Sutter Keely's final year of high school provides many twists and turns that seemed relatable and also had me reading for hours at a time. The book is written in first person, giving the reader a real sense of the emotions experienced by Sutter, the main character. Sutter describes himself as an easy going kind of guy. He's th...more
Tatiana
Did it have to end like that? :o(
Audrey (holes In My brain)
The Spectacular Now There's something endearing and beautiful about a boy who wants to save someone yet desperately needs his own saving.

There's something thoughtful and realistic about writing about imperfect people trying to do their best in life and life nonchalantly swatting them back.

There's something sad about books that portray lives as less than ideal we hope for and trick ourselves into believing.

There's something that makes me smile and tugs at my heart when characters are flawed and r...more
Erin Bowman
This is one of the most honest, gut-wrenching coming-of-age stories I’ve experienced in a long while, and an incredibly realistic look at high school, alcoholism, first love, and the overwhelming uncertainty that is the looming future. Spectacular, indeed.

Sutter Keely lives in the now. He’s the life of every party, the guy who can get anyone talking, the one everyone else looks to for a good time. He’s effortless charming and sweet at heart, but he’s also a heavy, heavy drinker, to the point of...more
Steph Su
Flawed but endearing characters take center stage in this incredible novel by Tim Tharp. Sutter’s voice will live in your head and heart, infiltrating your life with his unforgettableness.

Sutter, of course, is the shining star of this novel, the sole reason why this book succeeds so well for me. He is probably a parent’s worst nightmare, the kind of kid you wouldn’t want as your own…and yet Tharp creates Sutter in such a way that you can’t help but feel for him, even when he’s off doing stupid,...more
Arielle
After reading this book I feel somewhat empty. Despite having what I like at the end of books- a spectacular (lol, get it?) declaration of the theme of the novel in a sentence or two that makes your chest hurt- it lacks a complete ending tying all the ends together. What happens to Amiee? Does Sutter ever have a future? Though perhaps the author did this on purpose paralleling the unpredictability of life and inability to know what lies ahead for any of us.
Overall I enjoyed the book regardless...more
Stevecrandell
Strong ending, but it can’t redeem the first 280+ pages of painful reading. On the Road for teens, except that Sutter, the narrator of this novel, is even more annoying than any of Kerouac's navel-gazing lollapalosers. I kept waiting for Tharp to demonstrate that he doesn’t like Sutter any more than I do, but that’s hard to accomplish with Sutter always front and center, speaking for himself and everyone else. He’s a high school senior and a drunk, convinced that he’s the life of every party. He...more
Rachel
Wow. Unsettling. And really, this review should be 4 1/2 stars...for a few reasons.

But first, damn you Sutter Keely.

As with the film, my main critique of this book is its depiction of Aimee--then again, perhaps that's just who this girl is. And maybe it's even more believable in the book given the ending. That said, I did want her to get angrier at Sutter (Spoiler alert: she actually does in the book. Well, sort of.) I wanted her to take that newfound confidence she found through her relationsh...more
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Tim Tharp lives in Oklahoma where he writes novels and teaches in the Humanities Department at Rose State College. In addition to earning a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma and an M.F.A. from Brown University, Tim Tharp has been a factory hand, construction laborer, psychiatric aid, long-distance hitchhiker, and record store clerk. His first novel, Falling Dark (Milkweed Press), was awarded th...more
More about Tim Tharp...
Knights of the Hill Country Mojo Badd Falling Dark: A Novel

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“Besides, it doesn't matter if it's real. It never does with dreams. They aren't anything anyway but lifesavers to cling to so you don't drown. Life is an ocean, and most everyone's hanging on to some kind of dream to keep afloat.” 232 likes
“Life is spectacular. Forget the dark things. Take a drink and let time wash them away to where ever time washes away to.” 160 likes
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