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The Spectacular Now
Cover of The Spectacular Now
The Spectacular Now
by Tim Tharp
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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.
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.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.9
  • Lexile:
    790
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1 Chapter 1
    So, 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...
About the Author-
  • 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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 17, 2008
    Unlike most high school seniors, Sutter Keely—the narrator of this smart, superbly written novel—is not concerned with the future. He’s the life of the party, and he’s interested in the “Spectacular Now.” In stream of consciousness–style prose, Sutter describes his lurching from one good time to the next: he carries whiskey in a flask, and once it’s mixed into his 7Up, anything is possible. He will jump into the pool fully clothed, climb up a tree and onto his ex-girlfriend’s roof or cruise around all hours of the night. Without ever deviating from the voice of the egocentric Sutter, Tharp (Knights of the Hill Country
    ) fully develops all of the ancillary characters, such as socially awkward Aimee, the new girlfriend who tries to plan a future with this quintessential live-for-the-moment guy. Readers will be simultaneously charmed and infuriated by Sutter as his voice holds them in thrall to his all-powerful Now. Ages 14–up.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2008
    Gr 9 Up-Sutter Keely, a high school senior, is determined to live in the moment. He eschews planning for the future, intent on letting the good times roll. Sutter's been downing six packs since seventh grade and is rarely without his flask of Seagram's. Despite the heavy drinking and some raunchy sex talk, he is initially a likable character with a fresh and funny voice, but his affability wanes quickly and that voice just doesn't ring true. He meets Aimee when he passes out on her front yard. Sutter isn't really interested at first and only dates her because he considers her a project, someone he can help become less of a social outcast. Along the way, he begins to come off as condescending and egotistical and his sarcasm isn't as comic. It's a well-written book told in first person, but the narration seems much too sophisticated to be believable. He uses phrases like, "I am]sore at heart" and utters phrases like, "the room brimmed with padded chairs." Some of the plot is also disconcerting. As the result of Sutter's drunk driving, Aimee is struck by a car on a highway and suffers only a broken arm. The story ends with Sutter drinking in a bar, assured he's a hero after dumping Aimee, and rejoicing about feeling nothing."Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School Library, Lancaster, PA"

    Copyright 2008 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    November 15, 2008
    Grades 8-12 All the seniors inSutter Keelys high school are planning for the future, except for him. The Sutterman is the original party boy, with a perpetual 7-Up and whiskey in his hand and a story to entertain all who will listen. He isa ladies man, but he loses interest when the ladies demand that he pay attention to them, instead of himself, or make other unreasonable requests, such as remember dates or call when he promises. But it is Aimee, a social outsider, who gets under his skin and loves him in spite of his flaws. Tharp offers a poignant, funny book about a teen who sees his life as livable only when his senses are dulled by drink and only as fodder for the next joke or story. Lulled into believing he is happy in spite of his fathers abandonment and his mothers emotional neglect, Sutter is an authentic character, and his unsteadysense of himself, as well as his relationships with his friends, will strike a chord with teen readers.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2008, American Library Association.)

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    Random House Children's Books
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