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The Spectacular Now

July 29, 2013

“Hits you like a shot in the heart.”

Those are Rolling Stone writer Peter Travers words, summing up the emotional rollercoaster that is The Spectacular Now, a new film soon to hit theaters. Since it premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the film has been almost universally lauded by critics—the buzz has been non-stop. Particularly heavy praise has been showered on YA film adaptation darling Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, who star as the central couple, as they ease into messy, beautiful, complicated, realistic teenage love.  In the words of another critic, “John Hughes would be proud.”

 

  What you may not have heard about, though, is that the film is based on a novel of the same name by Tim Tharp. Originally published in 2008, The Spectacular Now was a National Book Award finalist, a BBYA, and received two starred reviews.   It tells the story of Sutter Keely, a hard-partying teenager who’s as friendly and fun to be around as he is self-destructive. He’s following in his alcoholic father’s footsteps, and is never far from his supersized Thirst Master cup which has more than a little whiskey mixed in.  After he’s dumped by his girlfriend, he yet again drinks himself into oblivion and wakes up on the lawn of Aimee Finicky—a girl who couldn’t be more different. She’s a good girl and a bit of a geek, but, more importantly, she dreams of the future—and Sutter can only delude himself into believing he is and should be living in “a spectacular now.”

Tim’s impressive backlist of titles is unified by several defining traits: they’re heart wrenching, realistic, and touch on that strange, beautiful balance of extraordinary/ordinary that comes with being a teenager. He’s a next-read for fans of John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.


Check out the trailer below and let us know if you and your students plan on seeing The Spectacular now when it releases in theaters on August 2nd!