‘Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys)’ by Amy Spalding

It was a little hard to tell if this story was intended to be a little wacky or mostly serious. It’s a stream-of-consciousness that seems to run out of Riley’s brain like a tap that won’t turn off. And, basically, since she doesn’t seem necessarily funny ha ha, this is reality (for a teen). Riley has had a huge crush on Ted Callahan, like, forever. She’s in a band with her best friends, Lucy and Reid and Lucy’s now boyfriend, Nathan. Riley feels sideswiped by the news; Lucy couldn’t even be bothered to confide in her about Nathan. Well, if Lucy can’t be bothered…neither can Riley.

Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) by Amy Spalding

The new coupling between Lucy and Nathan makes Riley and Reid think. Their lives are conspicuously devoid of significant others, and they’d both like to change that. Setting out to help each other fill that emptiness, Riley and Reid create a notebook in which they will document all of their attempts to get a boyfriend/girlfriend, with no detail being “too small, too humiliating, too stupid.” But the point is, they have to get out there.

Riley offers Ted a ride home, but he’s so quiet that she can’t tell if he’s interested. In fact, other than some eventual making out and some stuff at the end, I wondered if Ted had a personality. He’s pretty bland. (However, having said that, I completely understand the workings of the teen girl mind. You like what you like, period.) So, Riley has awkward conversations and drive time and encounters with Ted. Then, at a concert, she meets another boy who is pretty outgoing and confident. And interested in Riley. She thinks.

Meanwhile, Reid has decided to use the Sad Animal Project to get the girl of his dreams. Since she works at an animal shelter, it is so easy to pretend to be interested in adopting one of the animals there, right?

So there’s no harm in hanging out with two (or more) different guys at the same time, right? No one has said they are exclusive, and Riley can’t wait around for Ted forever (though she so would). But when you don’t talk about things, how do you know if your expectations are the same as someone else’s? What if you guess wrong? What if you misjudged your best friend? What if you lose the notebook?

Kissing Ted Callahan doesn’t fulfill its potential. The drama is there, between being in a band, the dynamic of band members changing, the multiple boys, Reid’s trying to find a girlfriend, etc., but the gentle upward trundle it takes ends in a climax that is easily rectified. I didn’t feel like I had much invested in the characters to feel badly about any potential problems, either. It was an easy read, though; and sometimes, that’s all you want.

Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) was published April 7, 2015 by Poppy. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley.

Rating: 3

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Ages: 13 and up
FYI: Sexual situations; profanity; underage drinking.

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