The Spectacular Now
Booklist Reviews 2008 November #2
All the seniors in Sutter Keely s 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 is a 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 father s abandonment and his mother s emotional neglect, Sutter is an authentic character, and his unsteady sense of himself, as well as his relationships with his friends, will strike a chord with teen readers. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Sutter Keely is a charming, unrepentant teenage alcoholic living for the moment. While his friends are busy planning their post-graduation lives, Sutter can't see beyond his current buzz. New girlfriend Aimee might set him straight if he doesn't drag her down his own dead-end path first. Tharp's characterizations of self-destructive teens are spot-on, and his realistic ending is painful, but satisfying. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
PW Reviews 2008 November #3
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. (Nov.)[Page 59]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.