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2008 National Book Award Finalist,
Young People's Literature

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Photo © Lilli Bassett.
Tim Tharp
The Spectacular Now
Alfred A. Knopf


The Spectacular Now perfectly juxtaposes hilarity and tragedy in the character of Sutter, a high school senior with a bevy of generous and caring ex-girlfriends, a desire to help those in need, a careless charm, and an insistence on being the life and soul of the party. With so much to recommend him, it's easy to overlook how often he's drunk. Written with pitch-perfect voice, honesty, joy, and humor, we almost don't realize how deeply we’ve sunk into Sutter’s world until we close the book.


Tim Tharp lives in Oklahoma where he writes novels and teaches in the Humanities Department at Rose State College. In addition to earning a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma and an M.F.A. from Brown University, Tim Tharp has been a factory hand, construction laborer, psychiatric aid, long-distance hitchhiker, and record store clerk. His first novel, Falling Dark (Milkweed Press), was awarded the Milkweed National Fiction Prize. Knights of the Hill Country (Knopf Books for Young Readers) is his first novel for young adults and was named to the American Library Association's Best Books of 2007 list.

ABOUT THE BOOK (from the publisher)

SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go
forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.


So why do I call my stepdad Geech? That’s simple. His actual name is Garth Easley, so of course, I started calling him Geasley and then it was the Geast and then it was Geechy and now it’s just Geech. Which is perfect because it sounds like how he makes you feel if you’re around him for more than ?fteen seconds. Geeeech. Kind of like retch.

He came along when I was eight, and believe me, I wasn’t happy when we loaded up and moved in with him. Holly thought it was the most fandangulous thing that ever happened. It was like she didn’t miss Dad at all. She was just happy to have a pool in the backyard so she could invite over all the high school hotshots who never really liked her before.

Mom changed when she and Geech got married. She started spending all sorts of money on her hair and makeup. She traded in her long hair and jeans and started dressing like something out of a hoity-toit magazine all the time. I don’t think she really even likes him all that much, though. You’ll never see her leaning in close to him on the sofa, running her ?ngers through what’s left of his hair or sneaking up behind him and grabbing his bony ass or dancing to Jimmy Buffett songs on the patio in the moonlight. All that disappeared when she kicked Dad to the curb.

She’ll be on Geech’s side this morning, though. They’ll present a united front against me. Luckily, I still have a couple of beers left from the twelve-pack I bought last night. They’re pretty warm, but that’s all right. I’m not exactly drinking them for refreshment purposes this morning.


The Spectacular Now is currently available at your local library or for sale through most major retailers, including:

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