Kissing Ted Callahan – The YA book that made it clear I really am an adult now

Kissing Ted Callahan – The YA book that made it clear I really am an adult now

I started this book and put it down almost immediately because of the inane chatter and the fact that this was the third musician girl with red Chuck Taylor’s I’d read about in the last five months.  Looking at the Goodreads reviews, my reaction wasn’t really unusual for about half the people who previewed it.  The other half raved about it and hadn’t seen anything sooo cute in ages.  Since I had requested the ARC, I felt compelled to actually finish it, and, in the end it was not a bad book.  It just wasn’t a book I enjoyed until the end.  I think there is an age gap on this one, so teens who want a silly RomCom with lots of musical references and quirky girl moments, you should sample it.  If you are an adult who reads YA, you can skip this one.

When Riley and her best guy friend, Reid, catch the other two members of their band in a compromising position, Riley examines her own love life and finds it lacking.  She and Reid come up with the idea of a manifesto, a notebook they will use to share information and insight about the opposite sex with each other so they can each find the love life they have been dreaming of.  This is a book with characters chock full of believable teen anxiety, awkwardness, and angst.  I can appreciate that YA readers in the target audience will probably enjoy reading it.  However,  it is so chock full of teenage anxiety, awkwardness and angst that it made me crazy.  The narrative alternates between Riley’s pov and excerpts from the actual manifesto, which is where Reid’s pov appears.  I personally thought the manifesto slowed the pace, and I could have done without all of the lists, but it might have been more funny and insightful to an actual teen.  What I did like was the best friend dynamic between Riley and Reid.  It didn’t even for a second veer into a romance between them, which is exactly what I feared would happen.  Riley did have the desireable gray ethics for a relatable character, and she came across as a real girl, but she just wasn’t one I really liked. When you resent a character for things like the fact that she is constantly talking about t-shirts – seriously, keep count and marvel at the number – you might have to admit it just isn’t ever going to be.  I actually didn’t mind her by the end, but she was immature for 80% of the book.   The ending did have my approval, and I think that a lot of those five star reviews came from the glow of that ending. It really does make readers that happy (maybe because they know the death by silly teen torture is over, but still,  HAPPY).   The plot is pure YA RomCom, so it will amuse readers, but I’m not sure there was any real life lesson to learn here besides a cursory nod to truth in dating.  There is language. There is sex.  There is some bad behavior.  None of it was graphic or even notable, so I would let my teen read it.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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