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Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys)Review - Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys)
by Amy Spalding
Hachette Audio, 2015
Review by Christian Perring
Sep 1st 2015 (Volume 19, Issue 36)

It's hard to resist a teen novel narrated by a smart high school student who is funny and into a lot of indie bands. Riley is 16-years-old and she is in a band.  She and her friend Reid decide to work on getting themselves romantic partners by writing tips on how to appear attractive and co-writing a journal on how their romantic exploits are going. They call this project "The Passenger Manifest."  The story is told with straightforward narration, extracts from this "Manifest," and some emails. Riley has a crush on several boys, but especially Ted Callahan. She is a bit neurotic, but not half as bad as Reid, who is convinced that everything is going wrong all the time.  Despite this, they both have some success in finding people to kiss, and more.  There are some trials and tribulations along the way. Unlike most YA novels, this story doesn't have any terminal illness, death, or supernatural beings. There's no trauma. But it also isn't a standard teen romance filled with clichés of love. It's mildly alternative and presents a quirky and honest view of teen relationships.

There's nothing particularly innovative about Kissing Ted Callahan but it is fun and occasionally insightful. Riley is earnest but self-deprecating, and she has a lot to say about indie bands. She makes mixtapes and sees lots of bands live when she can find all-ages shows, until she gets a fake-ID, which opens up new possibilities for her. Spalding throws in a mixture of actual bands with invented names which will have interest readers double checking.  FYI, there is no band actually called The Sandwiches.  

The audiobook is performed by the author, who brings plenty of energy to the book. It is good to have her reading since she knows best how dramatic to make the exclamations.  As an audiobook, it is done well.  The only problem was that it was hard to tell in conversations which comments Reid was actually saying and which she was just thinking to herself.

 

© 2015 Christian Perring

 

Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York


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