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



When two actresses wear the same dress, all those gossip magazines do a “who-wore-it-better” poll. When two book reviewers request the same book, they just collaborate and produce a brilliant (okay, I’m super biased) interview. I interviewed Stephanie Estrada on Amy Spalding’s Kissing Ted Callahan. My questions are bolded, her responses are not.

But first, let me take a selfie let me provide the synopsis:

After catching their band mates in a “compromising” position, sixteen-year-old Riley and Reid realize their lives lack romance. Thus commences the forming of a pact; they’ll try to make things happen with their crushes and then document the happenings in a shared notebook. While Reid struggles with moral dilemmas while trying to woo girls, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan but gets distracted other guys. Turns out love truly isn’t that simple.

In five words, what are your thoughts on Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys)?

Fun, humorous, realistic, and rockin’.

  1. What did you think of Riley and Reid? Do you think they should’ve been the narrators?

I felt like Riley and Reid were the epitome of Watts and Keith in Some Kind of Wonderful. That being said, I felt like they should have ended up together; there’s just something about best friends turned lovers that gets me every time. I only feel like there should have been a dual point of view if they was going to end up being some sort of romantic tension between them, but sans that, the diary they shared was enough for me.

  1. What’s your favorite sentence or phrase in the book (besides the title)?

I don’t have a favorite phrase or sentence so much as a favorite list done by Reid and Riley. The list is found at the beginning of chapter twenty-five and consists of qualities Reid and Riley think are most helpful in finding a mate. While Riley merely has three qualities on her list, including a good taste in musical preference, good hair, and not being boring, Reid thinks girls need to not “be ugly” in order to attract the opposite sex. Now, the reason I like this list so much is not just because it is the perfect portrayal of a man being an asshole, but because it goes to show just how different the male and female mind work. In all honesty, this particular section actually infuriates me, but the comparison between the rivaling sexes here is pivotal and I felt like it was seriously important to mention. If you happen to read the book, take a good look at those lists and see just how much Reid’s list pisses you off, seriously. His number three is, “don’t spend a lot of time complaining publicly.” I personally apologize on behalf of all the men in this world who aren’t raging chauvinists.

  1. Riley and Reid take both have extreme approaches to romance; Reid meticulously plans out his relationships, while Riley delves into relationships without hesitation. Do you think Kissing Ted Callahan accurately portrays the romantic lives of teens? What about the lives of teens in general?

I felt like the book does a fair job of portraying the instability of teen romance quite well, as a whole. During my high school experience, there was always a lot of bouncing back and forth, insecurity, and a lack of going too long without changing my mind. I think a lot of teen relationships, not just romantically, develop from not knowing what you want and trying to really understand all the different kind of people there are out there.

  1. What role does music play in the book? And do you think the music Reid and Riley mentioned was good? (Such a charged question, haha)

While the music was fun, I didn’t feel like it was as significant as it should have been in a novel revolving around musicians. Reid and Riley cared about the band, but I felt like they struggled to keep that a priority between juggling that and dating. I’m flipping through the book now, but if I’m completely honest, none of the music was very notable; familiar artists, but nothing all too great.

  1. Do you think Amy Spalding resorts to stereotypes or debunks them?

Tough question, after question three, it may seem like Spalding resorts to them, but at the same time, we have a female lead who does what she wants, when she wants, and instead of seeing the usual male excessively dating, we see a female doing this, and though this is more common in real life, it isn’t portrayed often in novels, so you have to give credit where credit is due. In a way, you can say Spalding gives life to the modern-day feminist while reminding readers that there’s still many stereotypes present in the world, AKA Reid basically saying he doesn’t think a woman should speak so much in public.

Stephanie and I had a ton of fun during this interview, so check out the book, which was published on April 7th, whenever you can.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Source: Netgalley

Valerie is sixteen. She attends a boarding school near Boston, where she writes, reads, and attempts to be a studious student. She's too lazy to write the rest of this bio, so follow her on Twitter @torquoiseworld because shameless self-promotion is alive and thriving!