Friday, January 30, 2015

For Your TBR Pile - Kissing Ted Callahan (and other guys)

Kissind Ted Callahan (And Other Guys)
By Amy Spalding
Published: April 14th, Poppy/Little, Brown For Young Readers

From GoodReads: 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.

Thank you NetGalley and LBKids for the eARC!

My Thoughts:

Kissing Ted Callahan was my first Amy Spalding novel--and I am a complete fan. Amy's characters came across real and hip and so, so funny. Can I be friends with these kids, please?

I love stories about pacts, and what made this story unique was the platonic friendship between Riley and Reid. What I found super interesting was how different their approaches were to dating. Riley ran into relationships without hesitation and with one thing on most teenage girls' minds (making out!). Reid, on the other hand, listed and plotted each relationship. I really enjoyed the non-stereotypical role reversal here.

As for Ted Callahan, I found him to be a little shy in the beginning, especially when paired with loud and colorful Riley. He was more of --what I like to call-- a come around character, who opens up and lets you in slowly, rather than throwing themselves at you from the beginning (like Riley). I found his home situation really fascinating, and actually wished there was just a bit more there so Riley's realization that maybe perfect Ted Callahan didn't have everything so wonderful was a little bigger and more powerful.

I also really enjoyed the friendship between Riley and Lucy, who have been friends forever and feeling the strain of what happens when one friend's relationship wedges between them. In this case, Riley felt inferior to Lucy, which isn't typically addressed in YA books. It usually comes across as bitterness or embarrassment. Riley's reaction was more realistic. She chose to avoid her friend and cut her off with no explanation.

Also, I thought Amy Spalding did a really nice job incorporating school, family, extra curricular activities, jobs, and all the things that fill a teen's life into this book. It reminded me how much teens have going on and how the pressure of grades and getting into programs and being on time to work is prominent in their lives. Best of all, all of these things weaved around the story to add a nice balance of chaos and missed encounters.

Overall, I really liked this book and I would definitely pass it on to my younger niece who loves realistic contemporary fiction.

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