The Spectacular Now by Tim TharpThe Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

The Spectacular Now

byTim Tharp

Paperback | July 9, 2013

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This National Book Award Finalist is now a major motion picture -- one of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance 2013, starring Shailene Woodley (star of The Fault in our Stars and Divergent) and Miles Teller (star of Whiplash).

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 probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go
forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.

From the Hardcover edition.
Tim Tharp lives in Oklahoma, where he teaches at Rose State College. He is also the author of the YA novel Knights of the Hill Country, an ALA–YALSA Best Book for Young Adults. He lives in Midwest City, Oklahoma.
Title:The Spectacular NowFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.19 × 5.48 × 0.64 inPublished:July 9, 2013Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385754302

ISBN - 13:9780385754309


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Expands on what the movie is missing I liked the movie when I saw it but hen I read the book, it just added all the little details the movie couldn't include and it felt more whole. I enjoyed this book a lot.
Date published: 2018-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! a much more realistic look into the life of a teenage boy with an almost absent father figure
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Spectacular Now I loved the opposites attract romance, but even more than that I loved that messed up Sutter wasn’t going to magically become less messed up all because the smart shy girl took an interest in him, this book followed a more realistic path than that. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from pretty good I liked this book a lot and I liked how casually it was written. It was like having a conversation with someone instead of reading... but Sutter... Sutter.... he was a big fat douche face drunk and I did not like him. He definitely had some good traits, good intentions and good moments.... but frig, he was a moron. Also I hated that he drove drunk all the time and I hated that no one seemed to have a problem with it.
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Book Really great book, couldn't put it down! I would not recommend watching the movie though, they butchered it.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I hated this! I have read many great books in my life, and I must say this was not one of them. It was boring, it didn't make much sense, the ending was terrible. I really found the characters annoying and uninteresting. After I read the book I watched the movie and I'm sorry that I wasted any time with either of them, though I must say that the movie was much better then the book.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Spectacular now One of the few times I preferred the movie ending to the book.... Great read but a bit of a disappointing ending.
Date published: 2015-05-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Good read. Would have liked a more justified ending.
Date published: 2014-08-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Spectacular Now Boring. Sure it's a "coming of age" book and I'm probably too old to have read it.... but not old enough to not remember my times in high school. This book, I feel bad giving it a terrible score, but it glorifies too much idiocy and fakes the consequences of real life. The substance is zilch until almost the end.
Date published: 2014-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Confused I really need someone to explain this book to me
Date published: 2013-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from hard-hitting, beautiful and just... wow I dont know what to say. On one hand, The Spectacular Now is a beautiful and amazing and impacting journey, but on the other its a bit... off. Okay, i'll start with the good: It's heartfelt and touching and impacting - a story that stays with you because of its fun and unique characters and plot - and very unexpected. In a good way... and, yeah, a bit in a bad way too. But i'll get to that later. It's really real. Different from any other story. Its not just a romance, its about finding yourself and how hard it is to grow up. Its not your typical book, the plot isnt predictable, but its realistic and relatable and real, and thats what i love about it. Sutter is so intriguing and a great male lead, and Aimee is so sweet and how she changes throughout this book is astounding. But every character is new and different and unique and fun. Now the bad: Tharp sometimes downplays certain scenes and parts, and sometimes it's good, but i'd like to have more details. I mean, he keeps things interesting while not (potentially) boring readers. Its his own writing, and yeah, i like it. The ending... wow. Intense. It makes me want to cry. It leaves room open for interpertation, which i, personally, like, but its just so heartwarming yet heartbreaking at the same time. Is that possible? Yes. Yes, completely. This book is proof. The ending is not what i expected - this book isn't what i expected and its unpredictable but so great - and i'm still unsure about my... official views and thoughts on it. But i do love it, i really do. But i still feel unsure. Its hard to explain, you just have to read it. I love it but... its hard, just letting go of them and Sutter and Aimee like that. Its such a short book but i feel so connected to Sutter, and i really love him. Its just hard. I think any ending would be, really. The Spectacular Now is a jarring, hard-hitting book. Its stunning and beautiful and will leave you... i dont know. Lost, maybe, but in awe of Tharp. The Spectacular Now is also a movie - one i really really want to see, so bad i wantss to read the book first to make me more patient becuse (i should've known) it backfired and now i want to see the movie more. Anyway, this book is so fantastic and heartwrenching and breathtaking and so different. A story like no other.
Date published: 2013-11-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh.. To me it felt like it dragged on, there was no real climax which made it kind of boring nothing too exciting happened it was mostly what the main character was thinking. I'm one of those people that once I start reading a book I have to finish it no matter what so I forced my way to the end of this one and found it very predictable messed up boy meets shy quiet girl and so on and so forth. I wouldn't recommend it to many people. BUT I am looking forward to the movie to see what kind of changes they make in order for it to be more visual as I felt the book was inside of the boys mind more so than the things that actually happened!
Date published: 2013-07-26

Read from the Book

Chapter 1So, it's a little before ten a.m. and I'm just starting to get a good buzz going. Theoretically, I should be in Algebra II, but in reality I'm cruising over to my beautiful fat girlfriend Cassidy's house. She ditched school to get her hair cut and needs a ride because her parents confiscated her car keys. Which I guess is a little ironic considering that they're punishing her for ditching school with me last week.Anyway, I have this sweet February morning stretching out in front of me, and I'm like, Who needs algebra? So what if I'm supposed to be trying to boost the old grades up before I graduate in May? I'm not one of these kids who's had their college plans set in stone since they were about five. I don't even know when the application deadlines are. Besides, it's not like my education is some kind of priority with my parents. They quit keeping track of my future when they divorced, and that was back in the Precambrian Era. The way I figure it, the community college will always take me. And who says I need college anyway? What's the point?Beauty's all around me right here. It's not in a textbook. It's not in an equation. I mean, take the sunlight--warm but not too brash. It's not like winter at all. Neither was January or December for that matter. It's amazing--we couldn't have had more than one cold week all winter. Listen, global warming's no lie. Take last summer. You want to talk about getting a beating from the heat. Last summer was a hardcore pugilist. I mean, burn-you-down-to-the-roots-of-your-hair hot. It's like Cassidy says--global warming's not for lightweights.But with this February sun, see, the light's absolutely pure and makes the colors of the sky and the tree limbs and the bricks on these suburban houses so clean that just looking at them is like inhaling purified air. The colors flow into your lungs, into your bloodstream. You are the colors.I prefer drinking my whisky mixed, so I pull into a convenience store for a big 7UP, and there's this kid standing out front by the pay phone. A very real-looking kid, probably only about six years old--just wearing a hoodie and jeans, his hair sticking out every which way. Not one of these styling little kids you see in their brand-name outfits and their TV show haircuts, like they're some kind of miniature cock daddy. Of course, they wouldn't know what to do with a girl if she came in a box with the instructions on the lid like Operation or Monopoly, but they have the act down.Right away, I take to this kid, so I say, "Hey, dude, aren't you supposed to be in school or something?" and he's like, "Can I borrow a dollar?"I go, "What do you need with a dollar, little man?"And he's, "I'm going to buy a candy bar for breakfast."Now that gets my attention. A candy bar for breakfast? My heart goes out to this kid. I offer to buy him a breakfast burrito, and he's okay with that as long as he gets his candy bar too. When we come back out, I look around to size up what kind of traffic the kid's going to have to negotiate in his travels. We live just south of Oklahoma City--technically it's a whole different city, but with the urban sprawl you can't tell where one leaves off and the other begins--so we have a lot of traffic zipping around here."Look," I tell him as he drips egg down the front of himself. "This is a pretty busy intersection. How about I give you a ride to wherever you're going so some big rig doesn't barrel down and flatten you like a squirrel."He looks me over, sizing me up just like a squirrel might actually do right before deciding to scamper off into his lair. But I'm a trustworthy-looking guy. I have no style either--just a pair of reasonably old jeans, beat-up sneakers, and a green long-sleeve T-shirt that says Ole! on the front. My brown hair's too short to need much combing, and I have a little gap between my two front teeth, which gives me a friendly, good-hearted look, or so I'm told. The point is I'm a long way from scary.So the kid takes a chance and hops into the passenger side of my Mitsubishi Lancer. I've had it for about a year--it's silver with a black interior, not new or anything but pretty awesome in a basic kind of way."My name's Sutter Keely," I say. "What's yours?""Walter," he says around a mouthful of burrito.Walter. That's good. I've never known a little kid named Walter. It seems like an old man's name, but I guess you have to start somewhere."Now, Walter," I say, "the first thing I want you to know is you shouldn't really take rides from strangers.""I know," he says. "Mrs. Peckinpaugh taught us all about that at Stranger Danger.""That's good," I say. "You should keep that in mind in the future."And he goes, "Yeah, but how do you know who's a stranger?"That cracks me up. How do you know who's a stranger? That's a kid for you. He can't comprehend that people might be dangerous just because you haven't met them yet. He's probably got all sorts of sinister ideas about what a stranger is--a black, slouchy hat and raincoat, a scar on the cheek, long fingernails, shark teeth. But think about it--when you're six years old, you haven't met all that many people. It would be pretty mind-_boggling to go around suspicious of ninety-nine percent of the populace.I start to explain the stranger thing to him, but his attention span isn't all that long and he gets sidetracked watching me pour whisky into my big 7UP."What's that?" he asks.I tell him it's Seagram's V.O., so then he wants to know why I'm pouring it in my drink.I look at him and he has this authentic interest in his big, round eyes. He really wants to know. What am I going to do, lie to him?

Editorial Reviews

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 17, 2008:
"[A] smart, superbly written novel."

Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2009:
"A sobering look at the rationalizations of a teenage alcoholic."