Spalding (Kissing Ted Callahan) adds an element of betrayal to the age-old theme of opposites attracting in this lively if somewhat stereotypical romance featuring a workaholic heroine and a former boy band idol. Jules’s mind is on editing the school newspaper and getting into an Ivy League college when she begins her senior year, but when the school welcomes a new student, the once-famous pop star Alex Powell, she can’t help being distracted, especially when it becomes clear than Alex, now intent on leading a normal life, wants more than just friendship with her. Before a romance can spring off the ground, Alex does something unforgivable: he joins the staff of the school’s video news show, which is in direct competition with the school paper. Will Jules and Alex become archenemies, or will love conquer all? The answer brings both suspense and laughs. Characters and plot are painted in broad, bright strokes; Spalding has a quick, easy sense of humor; and while the resolution is perhaps too neatly packaged, it paves the way for an upbeat, gratifying ending.
But that’s not all! Amy’s prior novel, Kissing Ted Callahan, was also named to YALSA’s Best Fiction For Young Adults list. (Check her out between Andrew Smith and Rebecca Stead!) Hooray!!! I sat in on the Teen Feedback Session for the BFYA list at ALA Midwinter last weekend, and was delighted to hear KTC spoken of in glowing terms.