The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
Published Alfred Knopf Books 2008
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
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.
Sutter is the fun character. He drinks a lot, gets in trouble, and is just floating through life. Aimee is more in control, with her problems, and focused on the future. It does not sound like they should work, but somehow they become quick friends and then, that turns into a romantic relationship. I did find it strange how quickly Aimee started sharing all of her life problems with Sutter, who shows up on her lawn, passed out and drunk. Sutter feels a sense of protection over her, wanting to share his crazy lifestyle with her to break her out of her monotone life.
Aimee really looks up to Sutter, and for good reason. He’s everything that she’s not. I wished that we had Aimee’s perspective as well as Sutter’s because I couldn’t understand why she did things sometimes. She put all of her trust with Sutter so quickly – waiting for him a long time to get lunch, telling him all her stories, inviting him into her home. Like – this kid was PASSED OUT AND DRUNK IN YOUR LAWN. I don’t know, I would have taken more precaution in this situation, especially if I knew what kind of kid Sutter was.
The whole book finds its foothold in the ending. It solidifies the whole story and what it means to both characters. I don’t want to spoil too much, but some people have trouble with how it ends. It’s not a ‘happily ever after’ ending. It is realistic and true to life and shows that Sutter is growing up. I kind of want to see an epilogue to this story. I want to see what happens to Sutter and Aimee. I loved the ending – powerful and the perfect cherry on top for this book.
Overall, this was a very sweet story. It has a powerful message, especially in the way it ends. I liked Sutter’s character, no matter how unlikable he was, and his story was written beautifully. This was a great story and I’d recommend it to people who like realistic contemporary.