Parents' Guide to

The Spectacular Now

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Teen drunk's tragic story best for mature readers.

The Spectacular Now Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 16+

perfect for anyone, unless your parents dont like the scene it is in

I Love this book, its so true to a lot of people that can be catagorized as a Sutter Keeley themselves

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
age 15+

Great writing, worth discussing

I think the reviewer missed by a bit here. In the end Sutter sees everyone who is important to him heading off to begin their adult life while he is still stuck in his pattern of drinking and going no where. He tries to quit drinking but can't and he is beginning to realize the hopelessness of his own life. I think Tharp is a terrific writer and there is much to discuss in this sharp, sad novel. Don't sell it short. Bookshop Mom

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (6):

THE SPECTACULAR NOW is different from most YA stories about addiction: Sutter doesn't learn the Big Lesson, doesn't see the error of his ways or join AA, and remains an alcoholic. But careful readers will be able to deduce that his story is a tragedy: Everyone he loves is moving on, while he still hasn't graduated from high school, has lost his job -- and even his drinking isn't always purely pleasurable the way it once was.

Not all the plotting is perfect: Some readers may find Sutter's encounter with his father a bit of a letdown. But readers will find it easy to root for Sutter, who has some real kindness locked inside -- as well as some deep pain -- and find it difficult to leave him drunk and alone outside of a sad dive bar, disappearing "little by little into the middle of the middle of my own spectacular now."

Book Details

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