Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: "Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys)" by Amy Spalding

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist meets Easy A in this hilariously realistic story of sneaking out, making out, and playing in a band. After catching their bandmates in a compromising position, sixteen-year-old Los Angelenos Riley and Reid become painfully aware of the romance missing from their own lives. And so a pact is formed: they'll both try to make something happen with their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook. While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over someone's heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, who she's been obsessed with forever-His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But suddenly cute guys are popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! With their love lives going from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid realize the results of their pact may be more than they bargained for.
My thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via Netgalley for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Did I like this book?

This book was pretty cute, and that's a good thing, but I don't think it was exactly my cup of tea.  The writing style felt juvenile to me, and the narration became annoying after Riley spoke in all caps the first ten or so times.  I was expecting a bunch of laugh-out-loud moments, but I didn't find "Kissing Ted" to be all that funny.  Most of the instances where I probably should have laughed just seemed silly.  All I can conclude is that I'm too old to appreciate this type of young adult read.

I did, however, enjoy the fact that Riley and her friends are all somewhat unique. Riley herself is not exactly  academically inclined, but she's passionate about music and her band.  Her friend, Reid, is ridiculously insecure and quite shy around every girl aside from his band mates, which is refreshing to see and, in my opinion, very realistic.  The tension between Riley and her best friend, Lucy, also struck a chord with me.  I remember all too clearly what it was like to be the one left behind by my boyfriend-wielding friends!  You can still be friends, but it never really feels the same as PB (pre-boyfriend), does it?  

I also enjoyed watching Riley get to know some other boys.  Milo and Garrick were great, in their own ways, and it was fun to see Riley work out the pros and cons of her relationships with them.  And really, isn't that a realistic part of growing up, too?  Not always (or even ever) are you going to find your soulmate in your first boyfriend, but that's exactly what all these YA romances expect us to believe. Sometimes a guy is great in every way, but there's just no chemistry, or there's plenty of chemistry, but something else is off.  It's nice to see a book that recognizes that fact and forgoes the instalove that is all too prevalent in this genre.

Will you like this book?

This book reads a lot like how I imagine a teenage diary would read.  If the thought of that appeals to you on any level, definitely give it a shot.  If, however, you wrote your own diary as a teenager and the thought of reading it now makes you cringe, then I suggest you say, "Been there, done that!" and call it a day.

Will I read more by this author? 

Um, probably not, although I wouldn't rule it out completely.  I think I would be more tempted to try this author again if she wrote something geared toward adults.

My rating:

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