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Kissing Ted Callahan

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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.

320 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 7, 2015

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About the author

Amy Spalding

14 books729 followers
Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She has a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

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5 stars
341 (18%)
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672 (35%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 430 reviews
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,102 reviews132 followers
December 16, 2014
This book had me at the "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist meets Easy A." I'm a sucker for "It's this meets this!" if the two "this"es are books or movies that I love.

In this case, the comparison is completely apt. It's very fun and also incredibly clever. I can't tell you how many times I literally laughed out loud...but it was a lot.

This is a book for people who weren't super popular in high school but who weren't also part of the dregs of society. (Although I think Riley especially was much cooler than I was; she's in a band! I was a lot more like Reid who, although in the same band, was much more insecure.)

Bottom line: if you like your love stories sweet but also smart, this is for you. I now hope to read her other two books, like, NOW.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Heidi (yabibliophile).
153 reviews263 followers
July 13, 2015
Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Boys) by Amy Spalding is laugh out loud funny! I had a silly grin on my face the entire time I was reading. Riley is a mess...a delightfully charming mess. She is such an authentic character. Following her as she navigates the murky and confusing waters of romantic relationships (and friendships!) was a treat. While I wanted her to end up with "The Guy," I didn't want the fun to end. Charming, witty, and completely addictive! I highly recommend Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Boys)... the book, not the action (although apparently that's pretty great too!) Amy Spalding is an author to watch!
Profile Image for Bee.
817 reviews209 followers
November 25, 2015

Lost interest.

FYI, I did start it once, but it was a bit too... childish and stereotypical for me. It felt like a really bad Disney Channel Original movie that makes me lose faith in humanity. So no. No no. But hey, I probably got Bingo saying this, so hurray! T_T
Profile Image for Danny.
598 reviews160 followers
February 1, 2015
This has been a fantastic read! It was funny, sweet and adorable and I loved how Riley took charge and went for what she wanted. I had a smile on my face while reading!!
Profile Image for VDC.
250 reviews80 followers
January 26, 2015
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.

Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,212 followers
October 1, 2014
This might be my favorite Amy Spalding book yet!

Riley and Reid are part of a band with Lucy and Nathan. When the two of them catch Lucy and Nathan getting frisky with each other, suddenly, Riley and Reid feel left out. Now, they're determined to go after their crushes and begin relationships, and they're going to keep a mutual notebook called The Passenger Manifesto to document their successes, their misses, and their thoughts about all things love-related.

Riley is HILARIOUS. She's a perfectly 16-year-old, awkward girl who finds herself in the midst of several crushes at once. Reid, who appears on the page in smaller bits of the story, isn't as lucky in the love department as Riley. So what Riley lays out on the page for Reid may not the complete and honest truth about just how much...action...she's been seeing. Or how deeply invested in the relationship she's fallen into really is.

This is a fun read, filled with laugh-out-loud dialog and moments that give readers plenty of opportunity for secondhand embarrassment. But in a really good way! Spalding writes characters who are true to their age and their place. The encounters Riley has with Ted and Milo and Garrick are sweet, as much as they are a little cringe-producing.

Maybe the thing I loved the most about this wasn't the romance at all -- it was how Riley related to her best friend Lucy.

There's sex in this book, and as in INK IS THICKER THAN WATER, it's well-done, respectful, and empowering to Riley. Likewise, it's funny -- it's imperfect and messy and confusing and utterly real because of those things.

Fans of Sarah Ockler and Siobhan Vivian will be pleased with this one, as will readers who love the humor in books by Carrie Harris or Maurene Goo. Bonus for teens who play in a band. Second bonus because there is a librarian named Ms. Jensen who may or may not be an homage to a Ms. Jensen I know who is a (former) librarian.

More to come. This is a fantastic read.
Profile Image for Jess(ToTheMoonAndBackReviews).
339 reviews9 followers
January 21, 2015
I love this book! It was a quick read for me but it was a fun one. Like all high school kids I wrote in a note book and passed it back and forth between my friends as we went from one class to the next so this book was one I could easily relate to,even as an adult.

Part of why I liked this book so much was the innocence in the book, even when they did the big IT, it stayed true to the characters personality and there was no details just that kinda awkward declaration that you are no longer a virgin.

I liked the music aspect as well, it fit right in with the story.

It was cute watching them struggle and discover the tricky world that is dating, especially in high school. I even rooted for the good guy and was glad that things went smoothly for him in the end. Normally I am all for the trick ending, woe is me, or the bad guys wins since those endings are never given but in this book the characters are so easy to relate to, it made me think they were real life friends and I wanted the best for them.

This is definitely the book I will recommend to my younger siblings who are still in high school.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
239 reviews19 followers
August 16, 2013
I LOVED this book, and I cannot wait for everyone else to read it and love it too. Music and boys and kissing and friendships and dogs and also more kissing. Perfect.
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
Shelved as 'lost-interest-not-for-me'
February 7, 2015
Ya'll know I have a habit of reading the last page of a book. Since the MC and her love interest aren't married at the end of this one, I'm refusing to read it. It makes me too sad. D: D:
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
589 reviews1,029 followers
Shelved as 'lel-no'
February 6, 2015
Whelp. There goes another one. Stuff this.
Profile Image for Jay.
514 reviews368 followers
February 7, 2015
Hell no = not going to happen = not in a million year
Because Sometimes you have to take a stand for what you believe in.
And I believe in respect
Profile Image for Amy.
45 reviews1 follower
February 2, 2015
Loved, loved, loved this book! The characters are so adorkably awkward... and while it is written to highlight all the cool bands that kids listen to... all I could think about was all the glorious food mentioned! Good news-- the waffle place does exist! I can't wait to try it!
Profile Image for Rose.
1,879 reviews1,064 followers
March 22, 2015
Initial reaction: You know how I said in one of my status updates that this was a less good version of E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver series?

Turns out I wasn't too far off from that assessment. Except I'd say that this failed miserably with the humor and handling of very similar issues.

Full review:

I struggled through the progression of this book with probably a few moments where I thought the humor worked, but ultimately, this book was just a miss for what I got out of the experience. Ultimately the read made me very angry in places. It was too juvenile for its intended audience on several levels - in tone, in the way it treated teen relationships and sex even with its focus on chick lit thematics and humor/comedy, among other matters.

Ultimately"Kissing Ted Callihan" deals with teen romance/sex and relationships, though in an intended humorous way. In the story , Riley and Reid create this personal book detailing their preferences, mishaps, stumbles, and journeys with respect to trying to find relationships with their crushes in writing inside that book. In some cases, this can be a cool thing (in premise) and I've seen it done well in some of my favorite books like E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver series.

Riley is the main female protagonist in this novel and she has a crush on Ted Callihan, but it's not the only relationship she has despite how much she talks about him to her best friend, Reid. The way that the book presented her relationships was that she crushed on multiple boys (three at the same time) with very little motivation (except for Ted) as to why she kissed them or hung out with them in some ways. Riley herself is a very flighty, over-the-top quirky "rock star" (she's a musician) who more often than not makes mistakes and missteps in all of the relationships she has. She's very self-absorbed, shallow, and often judging of the people around her, even those she names as friends. While that might be a part of some of her inherent flaws as a character, the way she came across gave me pause on several occasions, from the over-repetitiveness of her speech (using all caps lock, random tangents that were placed in text throughout the narrative that threw me out of the story, etc) to overemphasizing her love of music and status as a "rock star" when it felt like she was trying to elevate herself to some status of "cool" that the text somehow tried to over justify and repeat when it wasn't needed (for what reason, I don't know). Often I felt thrown out of the story because of Riley's character voice being extremely distracting, overly quirky, and what I felt to be a false portrayal for the character age (she's 17) and experience.

Reid was the other main character, Riley's best friend in collaboration on the relationship book. His character arc felt a little more solid than Riley's and his voice a little more tolerable, though he seemed to be a bit neurotic when it came to his relationships. He crushed on a girl at a local animal shelter and tries ways to get her attention (including showing interest in a disabled dog though he doesn't show true interest taking care of disabled pets, just wants to get to know the girl better). I had problems with Reid's motivations, but I followed him still to see how things would progress. Riley and Reid's banter could be fun in spurts, but often Riley's callous dismissals of Reid (even sometimes smacking him in the context of slapstick humor) was often brash and superfluous. Likewise, even when seeing the context of their role in their "rock band" - I only felt a loose musical connection - like it was mostly telling me how "cool" or how much meaning it had to the characters without really delving into it. It was background noise and I felt no true connection to it or how it connected to the characters.

Ultimately, when it wasn't the character voices being too puerile for their ages or over the top for quirks or the "cool" factor, it was the fact that their issues weren't really expounded upon, instead ceding to instant and overused clichés, to its detriment. Riley's story arc was resolved far too easily and quickly in the last 20% of the novel, especially when the relationship book (an intimate measure) ends up being lost and risked exposure to the people Riley and Reid were both involved with. Ted Callihan, in himself, was a very flat character compared to some of Riley's other crushes, and their dialogues (while intentionally awkward) didn't really endear me to their relationship or make me root for Riley in terms of them being together. Plus for the heavy discomfort the exposure that book's potential unveiling had, it was far too easily seen as a forgiven measure in Riley's other relationships (for plot convenience, Ted was the only one who had a problem with it). Riley never felt like she really came to terms with what it meant rather than just being "caught" in the midst of being in an uncommitted relationship (with having sex in one of those measures). The problem with this is that the text never really touched on how important it was for her to let the other people involved in those relationships that she had no strings attached in her approach. Also, that the text seemed to skimp on how much weight, impact, and potential repercussions it may have (especially when the sentiments of the other person in the relationship is ignored or undervalued, in which case Riley did ignore and undervalue their parts of the relationship).

In a narrative sense, this book felt far too underdeveloped, over the top, and mismatched for the audience portrayal in humor and projection for me to get behind it, and I can't recommend it for that reason. I did not enjoy it, and it was more often grating to read despite few moments where I found the bit humor worked.

Overall score: 1/5 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.
Profile Image for Leigh Collazo.
671 reviews224 followers
March 18, 2015

More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.

REVIEW: This was very cute and unexpected and reminded me a bit of the "gang" in Scooby-Doo. Nathan and Lucy (the dating bandmates) are so Fred and Daphne. Reid is a total Shaggy. And Riley...maybe she's Scrappy-Doo? Love interests Garrick, Ted, and Milo could be like the celebrity guest-stars. (Yeah, I watched a LOT of Scooby when I was a kid--here are some other books I compared to Scooby-Doo). #nostalgia

Anyway, I love that the characters feel like real people. They are funny and awkward and cool and indecisive and self-conscious and sometimes let their emotions get the best of them. They are all different and distinct from one another. We only hear Riley and Reid's voices in this one, but I would love to hear from Lucy and Nathan as well. The characters are cool--even though the four friends are a bit snobbish about their music, I would have loved to hang out with these people in high school.

It's unexpected. I've read tons of YA contemporary romances, and they tend to be fun but predictable. As the title suggests, Riley dates (and kisses) more than one person. I thought I knew without a doubt who Riley would end up with. I was wrong, and I loved that.

Dating is awkward. Yep. I loved the honesty in Riley's and Reid's relationships. Even when dating the person you like-like the most, there are awkward moments. Manipulated circumstances. Compatibility issues. Confusing emotions. Misunderstandings. Bad choices. Once again, there is a realness here you don't always see in YA romance. Thankfully, it's not all hunky muscles, tight skirts, and instalove.

It's fast-paced. I read most of it in one sitting.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Cute, fun, and unpredictable. Loved it!

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order. Will be a hit with fans of dual narratives.

READALIKES: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (Cohn, Levithan); Beatle Meets Destiny (Williams); Backward Compatible (Daltry, Clark)


Overall: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Engrossing: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Appeal to teens: 5/5
Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5


Language: no language except for one F-bomb in a song title ("Fuck You" by Cee-lo)
Sexuality: medium--kissing (duh--read the title!); intercourse
Violence: none
Drugs/Alcohol: teens drink alcohol at a club (using fake IDs)
Profile Image for Kathy Frank.
34 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2015
Actual rating 4 1/2 stars!

Kissing Ted Callahan (and other guys) is as the cover would suggest super cute and swoony but my favorite thing is how real it felt.

The characters are each unique but without it being in your face how each person is different. Riley is adorably awkward when it comes to romance. She does this thing where whenever she's talking with Ted Callahan she can't help but talk overly loud. I love reading about a heroine who is awkward at flirting and dating because that is totally how I am.

Kissing Ted Callahan is also seriously funny and all around adorable. There's several pages throughout the story from Riley and Reids notebook that they pass back and forth documenting their endeavors. I'm not sure I really enjoyed these snippets as much as I could have but I can definitely see some people loving them.

There are an abundance of music references (Riley is the drummer in a band) which I will admit I did not understand for the most part. I don't really listen to any of this music so I was just lost when bands or songs were mentioned but if you do listen to these bands I think you'd love seeing them referred to.

I don't think I really explained just how much I loved Riley and the romance in Kissing Ted Callahan but basically they're awesome and one of the best things ever!

Do I recommend? BIG YES
I consider it a must for contemporary fans and a definite try for others.

I received a copy from the NOVL newsletter which in no way affected my review
Profile Image for Kelly.
405 reviews14 followers
February 6, 2015
I read this book and didn't hate it but wasn't terribly impressed either. There were a few things that I found annoying and unrealistic, but I'm not going to waste my time going into detail because I don't feel that this author is worth that much of my time.

Here are my thoughts in a nutshell: unimpressive book and tacky behavior by the author (Google "Goodreads YA BINGO Amy Spalding" to see what I'm talking about). Why should readers respect a writer if she implies that the majority of readers aren't worth respecting?
Profile Image for Josie.
164 reviews4 followers
January 21, 2015
4.5 stars! Really loved this one...really every page of it! I laughed, I giggled, I empathized...more review to come closer to release date but yes, you need a book like this in your life. Trust me. :-)
Profile Image for Tabitha.
39 reviews11 followers
December 31, 2014
Read this in one day. The beginning was a little slow but the plot picked up quickly.
Profile Image for Tiffany Schmidt.
Author 15 books574 followers
February 8, 2015
One of the funniest YA novels I have ever read. Woke St.Matt up several times b/c I was reading in bed and couldn't stop laughing—loudly!

I cannot wait until this book is released and I can get my hands on a hardcover copy!
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews842 followers
March 10, 2015
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) by Amy Spalding
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Rating: 1 star
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

I think this book was much too trivial for me. It's unfortunate, how I now think that sixteen years old is too young for this mess. I'm almost twenty, but this girl seems to be so much more promiscuous than me. I know we're supposed to be all "you go girl" and "do your thing" and "Miss Independent" about a girl's romantic/personal choices, but I HATE that culture. I hate today's dating culture. But let me touch on that later.

Reid and Riley made a pact to document their reinvented personal lives in a book (The Passenger Manifest). Riley starts to notice guys, like Garrick, her lab partner, and Milo, a guy she meets at a record store... and Ted Callahan, a guy she's always had a crush on. Suddenly, she's hanging out with all three of them. She's kissing all of them. Her romantic life is a "wonderful" mess (wonderful to her). Meanwhile, Reid is falling in love with one girl, only to find out that she has a boyfriend, and then with another girl, but freaks out because he really likes her and thinks she likes him too. Basically, Riley's getting a ton of action, and Reid's getting none (he's neurotic), and things spiral out of control.

I liked the beginning of this book, when it seemed like Riley was attracting the attention of several guys, and she was reveling in the feeling of being wanted. When she started hanging out with all three of them, and kissing all of them, I was kind of done at that point.

What I Did Not Like:

We're about to get really personal, guys. Tuck in.

I HATE THIS HOOK-UP CULTURE. I hate seeing it portrayed in books, because in books, it's usually portrayed as something that is okay or acceptable. This book is no different. It is totally okay for Riley to kiss three different guys at the same time. It is totally okay because she wasn't exclusive with anyone, and therefore, she can act however she wants. No commitment, no loyalty. The three guys don't know about each other, until the end of the book (I don't know if that would have made a huge deal while it was happening).

This hook-up culture is NOT okay. It happens in high school (as we can see in this book), and it DEFINITELY happens in college (I see it all the time). I hate it. I think it's trashy and low-down (sorry if you participate in this culture). I think a girl (OR GUY) should respect others AND her/himself enough to be with one person at a time. Break things off with the other person and then move on. Don't string people along. It's nasty and rude and inconsiderate. Forget independence. Forget exclusivity. You should be clear and upfront with what you want. It makes things so much less confusing.

Literally half of the problems in this book wouldn't have happened if people COMMUNICATED. But then, Riley thought it was okay to be with three people at once, so I don't know. There were a lot of problems with this book. It so bothers me that she saw NOTHING wrong with her actions. It bothers me that people today see nothing wrong with this hook-up culture.

Like I said above - I get it, we're supposed to respect a girl's decisions when it comes to hooking up and having sex and kissing people because YAY FEMINISM. Right? If guys can do it girls can do it, kind of thing? I HATE THIS. I hate promiscuity. Call it whatever you want, make whatever excuses you want - I don't think it's okay at all to be seeing (and being intimate) with more than one person at a time, exclusive or not, taken or not. It's just not okay with me. Forgive me if my morals are at higher standards than yours. And before anyone jumps down my throat - no, I'm not saying I'm better than anyone, or perfect. But I have the decency to practice monogamy at all times.

I hated Riley, and not just because of her promiscuous actions. She has no control over what she says. I have no idea if anyone in real life is THAT BAD. Literally, she says EVERY SINGLE THING that she thinks. I don't think that's physically possible.

I also hate how the author uses all caps when she's trying to show that Riley is yelling or being extremely serious. It seems so unnecessary and out of place.

Gosh, this book seems so inconsequential. Everything that happens is so juvenile. I should have known, when I saw the title, that this book would be about a girl experimenting and hanging out (kissing, messing around) with different guys (plural), hopefully settling on one. This is like The Bachelorette, except that the guys have no idea that the others exist (until the end), and it isn't all staged (come on, those shows are totally staged).

I'm glad Riley chose who she did, but I feel bad for him. Riley isn't a girl I'd want to date.

Another thing - I generally don't really like books about music. With music as the focus, and the protagonists are playing in a band. I'm just not a fan of this, and this book was no different. I play the piano, I love music... but not band/rock/pop/etc. type. These books don't appeal to me.

Anyway. Gosh, I didn't like this book. What a waste of my time. I can't imagine what Riley would do in college - probably sleep with whole fraternities at a time, "finding herself" and "experiencing romance". ROMANCE. Really, you mean lust and one-night stands.

Would I Recommend It:

Nope. Pass it straight and move on. This isn't a fluffy, heartwarming contemporary novel that will make you fall in love with the hero and heroine. It's a silly, awkward, trivial contemporary that almost seems Middle-Grade-ish, if not for the, um, interesting content that occurs. The heroine is brainless, the romance is so ridiculous, the story itself is silly. And not in a good way.


1 star. I'm not sorry I read this one, but I'm sorry that I thought I would like it. If that makes sense? I would never read it again, or recommend it, or buy it or borrow it. I can't support books like this with such immature and irresponsible themes. Would I want my (future) children reading this? Absolutely not. Would I want my mother reading this? DEFINITELY not. She would hate to see such a book influencing her daughter. Horrible book, horrible themes.
Profile Image for Julie Salinas.
371 reviews3 followers
January 28, 2015
This book made me laugh, and cringe at the same time. Amy Spalding brings back the awkwardness of first crush and insecurities and more awkwardness. Riley and Reid, best friends from like forever, decide that they need to make a concerted effort to make a romantic relationships happen for each of them. It is hard to know who is more awkward, for the boys or the girls. As a parent, I would discus this book after with my younger teen. I received this book from goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
12 reviews
February 9, 2015

I loved this book. I'm a fan of this genre and Amy Spalding is one of the best. This book made me think about my high school days. (I used to kiss all the boys (except for boys with lice or from unworthy families))

Amy is a clever writer and if you're uncomfortable with great writing, then you might want to look elsewhere. But not me. This is my jam. My ham and my jam. Listen, I'm a fancy person, and I'm a lady, so my taste tends to run towards things that are well written.

So a toast to Amy Spalding on another wonderful novel! Kiss away! And Kiss Ted Callahan!
Profile Image for Raquel.
370 reviews166 followers
February 9, 2015
I received this ARC for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When Riley and Reid find their bandmates mid-hookup, they're forced to take a look at their own love lives and so they come up with a pact: they'll make something happen with their respective crushes and take note of what happens in what they call the Passenger Manifest. While Riley's always had her eyes set on Ted Callahan, she finds that cute guys are everywhere. And while Riley and Reid's intentions are simple, they find that the results of their pact are anything but.

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) is the kind of book you read when you want to blow off steam, or if you're looking for a good laugh. Riley is everything that is awkward and clumsy and she had me laughing several times while reading. She's on a search to win over Ted Callahan's heart and every interaction with him left me grinning like a fool. Riley is so focused on Ted, that her chemistry partner's superb kissing skills come as a great surprise. You know what's also a surprise? Meeting a very cute, if a bit geeky, guy who's as into music as she is. And it were those spur-of-the-moment scenes that had me reading more.

One of the things I found interesting was the way in which Spalding tackled sex—especially with young characters. Many authors in the YA community make losing your virginity a big deal in terms of it being the perfect moment with the perfect guy and so and so on. And while that may be the case with some girls, the reality for the majority is probably different. There are times when sex just happens without it being planned to the last detail and it's okay. So Spalding: mad props for that.

I'm also happy to say that in this case, best friends Riley and Reid don't end up together. Don't get me wrong: I love stories in which best friends become something more. However, it wasn't needed in this book. Reid gets little chapters in which he writes down his experiences in the Passenger Manifest and those were hilarious as well.

However, while Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) is funny and cute, I'm sad to say that there's no real depth to the story or the characters. Riley spends the whole book obsessing over a one-dimensional guy. I wanted to like you, Ted—I really did. But you were bland and boring and forgettable. I found Riley and Music Man's "relationship" way more enticing than Riley and Ted's. And for that reason, I wasn't invested in what happened to them. Also, I didn't like the fact that Riley practically ignores Lucy—her best friend—after she finds out about her and Nathan, just because Lucy kept that relationship secret. That was a shitty thing to do to your best friend, Riley.

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) may have had it's charming moments, but unfortunately, that wasn't enough to take away from the lack of substance and one-dimensionalism. If you're looking for comic relief, then this is your book. But if you're looking for depth, then you might want to try something else.

For more reviews, visit my blog at Bittersweet Reads.
Profile Image for Anna.
54 reviews81 followers
May 12, 2015
Normally, I don't read multiple books by the same author back-to-back unless they're in a series, and even then, I don't do it often, mostly because so many of the series I'm reading are still in-progress. That said, earlier this month I spent just ten days reading all three of Amy Spalding's books back to back to back, and IT WAS THE BEST DECISION EVER. Here's why:

1. Each of Amy Spalding's heroines are so unique in personality that I never felt like they were blending together or making each other predictable. From Devan in  The Reece Malcolm List to Kellie in  Ink Is Thicker Than Water to Riley in  Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) , they're all wonderfully distinct. Of course I have a favorite (looking at you, Kellie Brooks), but each of Spalding's girls are funny and smart and interesting and insecure in their own ways and worth reading about on their own terms, and that, more than anything, is why I was able to enjoy reading these books one after another.

2. I already mentioned that Spalding writes funny girl characters but y'all, they're really, really funny. They're self-deprecating and sarcastic and witty, and they make smart jokes and dumb jokes (though truly, if a joke is actually funny, can we really say that it's dumb?), they joke about life and themselves and sex and their family and school. Sometimes they joke because it's that or cry. A lot of the time they joke because they're funny and they know it. So great.

3. There are boys in these books, but while they're certainly well-developed characters, they're also there to showcase how empowering it is for a high school girl to decide what to do with a boy and when. There's kissing and undressing, and sometimes there's almost having sex, and sometimes there's having sex after really thinking about how this is what you want to do, and sometimes there's having sex because you realize right in the moment that yeah, this is what you want to do, and sometimes there's not having sex because nope, you're just not into this guy after all. And it's all good and confusing and revelatory and normal at the same time.

4. In each book, these girls have specific THINGS that they do outside of school — musical theatre, writing, working for the family business, playing in a band — and a lot of their stories revolve around how no matter what other drama is playing out, these are smart, passionate teenage girls who take pleasure in doing things, and doing them well. I especially loved how unapologetic Devan and Riley are about how seriously they take musical theatre and playing in a band, respectively. And, going back to point number one and how each of these girls is unique, I also loved that so much of Kellie's development was focused on the dawning realization that yeah, it's actually fun to do things and be passionate and involved and smart.

5. You should read these books because more than most contemporary YA authors I've read, Amy Spalding lets adults be present and realistic and meaningful in their children's lives. In  The Reece Malcolm List , Devan's mother is a character right from the start — her name is right there in the title! And one of my absolute favorite aspects of  Ink Is Thicker Than Water is how complicated Kellie's family structure is — divorce, remarriage, adoption — while being written in such a way that readers will have empathy for all parties involved. If anything, the fact that Riley's family plays such a small role in  Kissing Ted Callahan is probably one of the reasons I liked it just a little bit less, because by that point I had fallen head over heels for Spalding's families. However, at the same time, Riley's true to who her family is, and I totally laughed every time she referred to her parents as "the United Front."

And finally, you should drop everything to binge read everything Amy Spalding has ever written because she's a wonderful, lovely person (who I know only via the Internet because I couldn't get my act together to meet her for a drink the last time I was in LA, something I've regretted ever since), and the fact that she's a wonderful, lovely person shows in how she writes about teenagers and girls and families and life. These are good books that will make you feel good.
Profile Image for Roxanne.
801 reviews53 followers
October 12, 2015
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.
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