The Spectacular Now follow Sutter, a high school senior in Oklahoma, as he navigates life mostly drunk. His life changes when he breaks up with Cassidy at the same time his best friend gets into a serious relationship. He meets Aimee who is a SciFi nerd with a crappy home life. The two forge an unlikely relationship (Sutter believes he is some sort of mentor to Aimee) and change one another’s lives.
Tharp perfectly captures an aimless 18-year-old in the middle of nowhere, I spent some time in Oklahoma as a teenager and there really isn’t much to do but drink and have sex. I had a few more consequences for my drinking and sexing but I wasn’t in a YA novel… Sutter was a great antihero, Lord knows if he was my kid I would want to throttle him but his exploits made for an enjoyable read. I could see how Aimee would fall for him and if he was a straight A senior it’d be a boring read. Both of them are a little different from their peers; Sutter lives in a Dean Martin, whisky soaked world while Aimee fantasizes about running away to St Louis before starting a career at NASA.
“Besides, it doesn’t matter if it’s real. It never does with dreams. They aren’t anything anyway but lifesavers to cling to so you don’t drown. Life is an ocean, and most everyone’s hanging on to some kind of dream to keep afloat.”
The only part I wasn’t thrilled with was the father subplot, only because the pay off was so brief- I’d have preferred him to stay asbsent. The ending also felt a little rushed though it did reach a believable conclusion. Also I may boycott 7-Up do to its near constant presence as Sutter’s mixer of choice.
All in all I’d recommend for lighter reading.