March 26, 2015

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

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding
Publication date: Apr. 14, 2015
Publisher: Poppy
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC via Netgalley (Thanks!)
Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
I gave Kissing Ted Callahan two stars on Goodreads and while most people's first thought will be that I probably didn't like it – that's actually not the case! Two stars equals "it was okay" (really! go check!) and while I do think the book is cute, fun and has a good message worth noting, in the end it was just an okay book for me. And it has everything to do with personal preference.

Riley and Reid discover that their two bandmates, Lucy and Nathan, have gotten romantically involved and it suddenly makes them aware of their own lack of significant others. Plus it makes things awkward for Riley because Lucy is her best friend and she never once mentioned her feelings for Nathan. So, Riley and Reid decide to turn to one another for (platonic!) support. They keep a notebook in which they share funny and honest entries about the people they like and their thoughts on romance and sex. It's very telling of their different personalities, gives readers a girl and guy perspective and it made me laugh.

What stood out the most to me was Riley though. She's this hilarious, awkward mess who's also a drummer, and accepts herself for who she is. Through Riley, the author gives us an extremely positive outlook on a young girl dating, exploring her sexuality and owning it. Because even though it's clear from page one that Riley has the biggest crush on Ted Callahan, she does end up clicking with a couple other guys along the way. And in reality, it's not like you get into a seriously defined relationship overnight. Usually dating around happens first and it was great to see that portrayed here and watch Riley make up her own mind.

(Some) Reservations
The main reservation for me was tone of the writing and the dialogue. The entire book felt as if I was listening to the inner ramblings of a fourteen year-old girl. Even though she's 16 in the book, she read much, much younger in my opinion. And typically, as much as I obviously love YA, I tend to steer clear of the ones where protagonists are 15 and younger. Sixteen is usually my cut-off and I do recognize that's still a young age. But as much as I admired Riley's go get 'em attitude, this voice inside my head kept yelling, "but she's SO young (to be making these decisions)!". And it all had to do with the tone. I think if she had been written just a teeny tiny bit more maturely and if her antics were a little less repetitive, it would've made a big difference for me.

Also, I wanted more of Reid. He's a big part of the book but at the same time, not. We get to read his own romantic mishaps through the notebook (which made me very interested in his character) but Riley wasn't as actively supportive of him as I expected and hoped.

Do I recommend?
I do! It's got a great female lead and I can see why so many people are liking it. Like I said, it just read a little more juvenile than I anticipated and that's not really for me. Still if you're intrigued, I would recommend checking it out.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. This one sounded interesting to me but also like it might be one that I could recommend to others without reading myself. I think part of my problem is also that I was hoping it would be Riley and Reid in the end despite the title which would just lead to a case of inaccurate expectations on my part if that makes sense.

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  3. I've been curious about this from the start because it sounded like a 'me' read but have heard so many mixed reviews- I'm glad that even though you found the voice juvenile you'd still rec it! I do always adore your recommendations, Rachel!

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  4. I'm still curious about this one since I've read her previous releases! But I do love the full honesty you've expressed here, because it does give me a better idea of what I'd be getting into. Glad you still liked it okay!

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