Title: Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys)
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.
Hmm… So far, my experience with Amy Spalding has been a little downhill – I hope that’s a trend that changes with her next book. It’s not that this was a bad book or that I didn’t like it at all, I just didn’t like it as much as her first book, The Reece Malcolm List.
The Alleged Immaturity
When I read reviews of this book before reading it, one of the most common things I saw was that Riley, the protagonist, seemed a bit immature – which made things awkward when there was sexual content. I saw the immaturity, but the way it was present surprised me. You see, when Riley was talking about sex or music or other things, she seemed like a typical teenager. When she talked about boys – Ted mostly – she seemed like a stereotypical eleven year old or so who’s obsessed with a young celebrity like Justin Bieber or Ross Lynch (I only know that guy because my cousin’s daughter, who is around third grade or so, has declared that he’s her boyfriend). She really was obsessed with him, to the point where it didn’t seem realistic. Maybe it’s just because I was never the type to have typical crushes growing up, maybe I just skipped that, but it didn’t seem unrealistic in general – it just seemed unrealistic for a girl who was sixteen or so and in a band. She was fifteen at the youngest, but when she was freaking out over Ted, she seemed at least three or more years younger. For that alone, I would recommend this for a younger YA set, but I guess it also depends on how the younger YA set feels about sexual content.
There are multiple romances, as you can probably tell from the title. Riley is obsessed with Ted, but as she tries to branch out and story having a romantic life, she learns that there are plenty of different kinds of boys to like and kiss and get to know. I was a bit disappointed that her fixation with Ted remained – I had hoped that she would end up growing and getting over that crush, no matter how Ted seemed like a decent guy, but she merely obsessed over him in between kissing other boys. It was great seeing Riley getting experience and not shaming herself for her casual relationships, but Ted was never far from her mind and I simply didn’t care for him nearly as much as Riley did.
Besides Riley, there’s Reid and two other people in their band. Riley and Reid are best friends after Riley basically dumped the other girl in their band because she started a relationship with the other boy in the band and Riley and Reid walked in on them. Riley felt betrayed because her friend was no longer a virgin or something and hadn’t bothered to tell Riley about the budding romance. I understand how she felt left out, but then she went over the top and pushed her friend away so much when she was just trying to fix their relationship. They start to fix things towards the end, but I wish she had had a bigger role in the story. I just didn’t care for Riley and Reid’s relationship nearly as much, mainly because I just didn’t care for Reid as much. Riley also had her music hipster moments that could get annoying.
OK, I seriously need a music expert to read this book and tell me if all or even most of the bands are real. I think there were a couple that I had heard of, but Riley was constantly going to concerts and finding CDs of bands that I have never heard of. I mean, I’m definitely no expert – I mostly listen to Top 40 and various quasi-big artists in pop, rock, and alternative music, as you’ve seen if you check out my monthly Spotify playlists – but it kind of took me out of the story because I was constantly wondering if the bands were real or if Spalding had a lot of fun making up names when she wrote this book.
I know that I complained about quite a bit of things in this book, but I did enjoy myself for the most part while I was reading it. This wasn’t the most memorable book, and it certainly wasn’t my favorite from Spalding, but it wasn’t bad at all. I hope my next excursion with Spalding with more Reece Malcolm, less Ted Callahan, though.