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The Spectacular Now

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  38,857 ratings  ·  4,308 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 October 20th 2008 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Blythe It is not at all necessary to read the book first. Both the book and film have good things going for them; the book gives more insight into Sutter,…moreIt is not at all necessary to read the book first. Both the book and film have good things going for them; the book gives more insight into Sutter, but the film does a far better job of making Aimee a real full-fledged person. In the book she's rather flat. I saw the movie first and then read the book, and enjoyed that order.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  38,857 ratings  ·  4,308 reviews


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Reynje
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing


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 t
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Catie
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Peep (Pop! Pop!)
Shelves: ya, audio, read-in-2011
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
K-L
May 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
"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
Katrina Passick Lumsden
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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Aishu Rehman
So I've been seeing the movie in stores and I was curious so I picked up the book...I must say that it was not the greatest book I've ever read but it wasn't the worst. So I would give this book 3.5 stars. At times this book just sort of dragged on and on. I get it that it's about high school kids trying to find their way in life but I don't know just something about this book rubbed me the wrong way. Decent enough I guess. Sutter was alright. I'm surprised he doesn't have liver cancer by how mu ...more
Philip
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: movie-is-better, ya
4.5 ish stars.

Call me an idiot if you like, but I didn't realize this book existed until a week ago. I ended up seeing the theatrical adaptation at a free screening when it first came out in 2013 not really knowing what I was getting myself into (except, of course, a movie theater- for free) but the movie affected me and I fell in love with it because it immediately connected to my experience as a young adult without resorting to terminal illnesses or similar plot devices to get me invested int
...more
Alyssa
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of The Catcher in the Rye.
Recommended to Alyssa by: Tatiana
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
Ari
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Greg
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Cari
Aug 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
Every time I read a book that is popular I almost always end up hating it. What's wrong with me? Or maybe I should as what is wrong with everyone else?!

I wanted to read this book before I went to go see the movie, but I only want to go see the movie so I can scope out the acting of the two main characters since they are both casted for Divergent. As soon as I read the first sentence of the book I should have just put the book down and walked away.
description

I did't like the style in which this book was w
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Basuhi
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
ALPHAreader
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Wow. I'm not sure how I feel about this book. I'm going to sleep on it. Full review to come!
Zoë
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book started out so well but ended unresolved in my eyes. I was expecting a fabulous ending but it fell a bit short. Also, I disliked how Sutter believed that Aimee needed him to change her but didn't fully acknowledge how he needed her to change him too. Don't get me wrong, I really liked the book, but it lacked that certain something that would warrant 5 stars.
Dennis
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't turn out the way I hoped it would. And after some pondering I think I actually like it for that exact reason.

It's the story of a high schooler that's partying a lot, drinking way too much and seemingly can't hold on to any relationships with girls. Because at some point being fun and all isn't enough. You have to have some direction in which your life is going. And Sutter just doesn't. He lives in the spectacular now.

The main character is simultaneously loveable and an ass. He definitely
...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
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
Emer (A Little Haze)
I don't know if I hated this or I loathed it. Or maybe I just hold the whole setup in contempt... Boy with a superhero complex, wilting maiden who needs to be rescued... Oh and obvs she's not like other girls...........

Excuse me while I search for something good to say about this book....

...

...

...

...still searching...

It might be a while...
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
Keertana
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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TL
May 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to TL by: birthday gift
*Minor editing sorry*



There were moments I liked but overall I didn't care much for this book overall. The only people here I felt attached to were Amy and after awhile, Cassidy.

Sutter.. well,


He was alright in the beginning, grew on me some after awhile but then he just got annoying after awhile. I tried to give him a break but at a certain point I just stopped caring. I kept hoping he would turn himself around but mentally I broke away from him and was just waiting to see if he was going to do
...more
Halle Watson
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: so-many-feels
We all know Sutter Keely. Maybe we don’t want to know him. Maybe we are ashamed that we knew him. Maybe we jumped on his bandwagon for a short time in high school, but we likely knew him in one form or another.

He is the life of the party; the one who is okay with destroying people's houses when he parties. The kid that you know has alcohol in the back of his car and can’t seem to knock any sense into himself. He is drunk before, during, and after school (if he doesn’t skip) and is set on enjoyin
...more
Tatiana
Apr 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Did it have to end like that? :o(
Rob
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult-lit
There's that old literary saw that says if the main character of a book doesn't change, the book is a failure. But what if the unchanging main character is the catalyst by which others are allowed to change? That's the fascinating issue at the heart of The Spectacular Now, a book whose protagonist is a drunken – but charismatically drunken – high school senior named Sutter Keely. He's the life of the party, a barely-functioning teenage alcoholic who's so filled with love for his fellow man that ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
May 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youngadult
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 d
...more
Rottgrl88


I can't believe that I finished this. So, let me get this straight. We have a high school boy that is a low self-esteem alcoholic playing the role of "popular jock" at school. Not really able to keep his job due to his addiction. Sleeps with any female that walks past him and gives him the time of day. Only has a couple of really good friends that egg on his lifestyle. An absent minded mother and a dead beat dad who is not around. Well, that just sounds like an Oscar winner now doesn't it??? Nop
...more
Asghar Abbas
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing

One of the best books I have ever read. Highly enjoyable.
Can't get enough of Tharp's writing.
One of my favorite favorite authors.
Read his work, end of.

And forgive this book's movie. It was okay, but nothing like the book which was great.

This book is very dear to my heart; like Neon Golden by Notwist is in this moment.
Clara Cortés
Puta pasada de final.
Jay G
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

4.5 Stars

18 year old Sutter Keely is the life of the party. He's the person who can get everyone laughing and forget about their problems. But Sutter has problems of his own, his girlfriend Cassidy is threatening to break up with him, his sister and Mom are always on his back, his best friend doesn't want to hang out with him anymore and he may have a drinking problem. That's when he m
...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
“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.” 418 likes
“Life is spectacular. Forget the dark things. Take a drink and let time wash them away to where ever time washes away to.” 308 likes
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