Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) by Amy Spalding ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Audience: Young adult
Keywords: music, dating, romance, best friends
Format read: ARC paperback from Publisher. (Thanks!)
Summary: Riley and Reid — friends and bandmates — vow to inject some excitement in their love lives by actually pursuing love lives. Craziness ensues.
Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) is the most fun I’ve had with a book in 2015. Do you know this about me? It makes a lot, a lot to make me laugh out loud, and this book had my husband laughing because I couldn’t stop. We need more romantic comedies in young adult! Laughing is nice for my heart.
Anyway… the best way I can describe KTC is this: the author has basically unscrewed the top of a teenage girl’s head and let it spill all over these pages. The good and the bad parts. Loved that. Riley is not some suave rocker chick ; she’s pretty much the opposite. A fantastic drummer but inexperienced in all things relationships, and sex. Mad at her best friend for secretly dating their bandmate. Stealthily finds a reason to spend any amount of time with her crush (you guessed it): Ted Callahan. In a secret notebook she exchanges with Reid, her semi-paranoid platonic guy pal, adventures (and failures) resulting from their goal to meet someone fill up the pages.
Riley uses a lot of exclamation points and thinks a lot of Things in Capital Letters. I love how she inwardly freaks out about Ted, and then is totally seeing other guys who are not Ted. Scandal! But, seriously, she’s not married and Ted isn’t giving her any signs he’s interested and these other guys are and who’s to say she can’t go out on many dates? She can’t Not take advantage of the situation. I wasn’t expecting this. I know the title of the book kind of gives it away, but I wasn’t expecting to Like these other guys and wonder to myself if Ted Callahan was worth the Fuss. I’m pretty sure that’s how Riley was feeling too.
Who knew sex and comedy could blend so seamlessly in YA? Riley is game to be the one to initiate the kissing. She doesn’t necessarily care if she’s in love when she first has sex. Nothing feels preachy or squeaky clean or too perfect when any of this is brought up. It’s just there, and it made me wish I had this book when I was in high school because no one I know was certainly talking about it like this. In a way that felt important and big deal-ish but also, not. Just a normal part of being a teenager and being curious. It’s non-judgmental, too, thanks to the crazy maze living in Riley’s head readers get to see firsthand.
I can’t discount Reid whose entries are handwritten (very Baby-Sitter’s Club) and going to some great lengths to obtain the girl of his dreams. He’s kind of anal and really strategic, and things get clusterfucky when Reid and Riley’s original goal pushes them apart instead of holding them together. The friendship of these two is so reminiscent of what happens when groups change and people pair off in different ways. I liked how honest they could be with each other — most of the time. (Is it really possible to tell one person everything?)
It’s true I’ve been a fan of Amy Spalding since her debut was released a few years ago, but KTC elevates my love of her work to new heights. I’m not even going to try to get into the inner workings of her craft but let’s just say this: she is in possession of the pixie dust to write a book totally void of any airs, overflowing with honesty, and wrapped up with so much humor. You need this one in your collection.