Books & Writing

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp: Book Review

The Spectacular Now

Obtained: Borrowed
Pages: 294
Publish date: July 9, 2013
Rating: ★★★★★

This book kicked me right in the feels. It’s been a while since I’ve read a young adult book that I didn’t find totally over the top, with unrealistic characters. I’ve been putting down a lot of the YAs that I pick up recently, so when my sister pushed this book on me and said I had to read it, I was hesitant. But as you can see, the book got 5/5 stars from me, so you can already tell where I’m going with this review.

The Spectacular Now is about an eighteen-year-old boy, Sutter, who is the life of the party. He’s super fun, friends with everyone, and okay, maybe he’s not academically inclined, but he’s got more personality than anyone he knows. He adores his ultra-confident girlfriend, Cassidy, too. Then one day he meets Aimee – a total nerd who Sutter immediately sees is a push-over, and recognizes that Aimee’s push-over-ness is ruining her potential. Even though he loves drinking at 10AM, and she loves writing science fiction novels about horses abducting her and taking her to another planet, Sutter decides to take Aimee under his wing and help bring her out of her shell.

Favourite thing about the novel: the characters. There are so many typical high school moments in this book – prom, parties, girlfriends and ex-girlfriends, friends meeting friends, and everything in between – and not one of those moments results in the same typical teenage reaction you’d expect. There were a few moments I caught myself mid-eye-roll because I expected the typical teenage girl blow up, or the typical teenage boy fit of anger, at a situation, but Tharp did not write these reactions.

Every single character is real, multi-dimensional, and not just a plot point. They all have real motivations, real fears, real emotions. Which made my experience with the book that much more emotional. You want to hate a guy for stealing someone’s girlfriend, or hate a girl for breaking someone’s heart, but you can’t, because you see their side of the situation, and that creates more feels rather than uncomfortably forced conflict for the sake of story progression.

I could go on and on.

I also HEAVILY related to Aimee. As in, the minute I started reading about her, I could relate to everything she was going through and everything she did to cope, which made reading the book even more real for me.

If you’re looking for a good YA to pull you out of a reading slump, or to re-instate your love of young adult stories, I highly recommend this book. It’s incredible.

The Spectacular Now is available online at Chapters Indigo, Book Depository, and Kobo.

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