Thursday, July 24, 2014

YA book review: The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
YA contemporary
Paperback/ebook, 294 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Ember (first published October 20th 2008)

So, my girlfriend, Cassidy, is threatening to kick me to the curb again, my best friend suddenly wants to put the brakes on our lives of fabulous fun, my mom and big sister are plotting a future in which I turn into an atomic vampire, and my dad, well, my dad is a big fat question mark that I’m not sure I want the answer to.

Some people would let a senior year like this get them down. Not me. I’m Sutter Keely, master of the party. But don’t mistake a midnight philosopher like me for nothing more than a shallow party boy. Just ask Aimee, the new girl in my life. She saw the depth in the Sutterman from that first moment when she found me passed out on the front lawn. Okay, so she’s a social disaster, but that’s where I come in.

Yes, life is weird, but I embrace the weird. Let everyone else go marching off into their great shining futures if they want. Me, I’ve always been more than content to tip my whisky bottle and take a ride straight into the heart of the spectacular now.

review by Caitlin

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp is the story of Sutter, a frequent partier who believes in living in the now. And even though he's a party boy, he still has a big heart. When he found a little boy at a convenience store who was running away, he brought him back home. At parties he's always sure to make people laugh. He befriends Aimee, and motivates her to stand up to the people who are controlling her. He has good intentions--his downfalls are his drinking habits and his lack of care when it comes to commitments and his future.

The characters are one of the things I love. From the very beginning, Sutter's voice is captivating with his humor and philosophies about life. He is so likeable (and this is what makes the ending so rough). I liked Aimee as well. She is nerdy, quiet, and sweet. She's real. She seems like the total opposite of Sutter, yet they make a perfect pair.

The ending. When I finished this book, I sat there for a few moments thinking about what the heck I had just read. Life is no fairytale, not every story has a happy ending, the world is an imperfect place--I get it. But I feel like the ending, although realistic, was a let down for me, personally. I kind of wanted to slap Sutter and tell him that he was being pathetic.

ALPHAreader said this in her review on Goodreads, and I agree with it entirely:
"There’s this weird thing that happens where, as a reader, you become sort of like Sutter’s girlfriends; all those who fell for his rambunctious charm and carefree loving-life in the beginning, but slowly figured out his failings and shortcomings, becoming frustrated with his wasted potential. The ending is brutal perfection..."

There's something special about this book. To a certain extent, I agree with Sutter's view on life. We are always thinking about tomorrow, the weekend, our next holiday break, the upcoming summer. We spend so much time dreaming about the future, that we forget to live in the present. Sutter once said "I like listening to people's dreams. My dad, I don't think he had any dreams. He was like me--every second's a dream for guys like us." I like that. But at the same time I also believe in planning for the future, so that you'll be happy then, too. I think it's all about finding a happy medium between living in the now and thinking of the future.

The Spectacular Now is a though-provoking story that is much more than a cute romance. So much more.

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp was a 2008 National Book Award Finalist, 
Young People's Literature. Read about it here.

Rating: 5

Cover comment:
Since I also saw the movie, I like this cover since it's from the movie.

Book source:
I received this book as a gift.

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