I'd have never picked up this novel in a million years if it weren't for the fact that the screen writers of "500 Days of Summer" wrote the screenplay for the movie version of this novel. And Shailene Woodley, of course. It seems a little shallow to admit that, but it's the truth. I'm not a fan of Contemporary YA and I'm especially not a fan of novels about teenagers partying and drinking - which is, admittedly, a lot of what this book is. Yet, the narration throughout this story is superb. Sutter, the teen who has popularity, a car, a job, and a girlfriend. A really big heart. But also a drinking problem. An addiction. And reading his tale is a little like stepping into that mindset yourself. It captures the essence of the teenage years, but also the scary cliff that looms ahead when you're lost in your world. Sutter is so deeply dark with so many layers to just keep peeling. Aimee, the girl he intends to save, is just as screwed up in some ways and I love her unrelenting depths as well. All of these characters are written so starkly; realistic and raw in a manner that is difficult to describe. And this ending, though not the one I was clamoring for, did manage to grasp life in all its highs and lows. THE SPECTACULAR NOW is a spectacular slice of life itself, with all its messiness and flaws, complications and oddities, and though it's not my favorite book out there, I can't recommend it enough.