Oct 23, 2011

Review: Kody Keplinger - Shut Out

Kody Keplinger - Shut Out

• Pub. Date: September 5, 2011
• Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
• Format: Hardcover 288pp
• Age Range: Young Adult

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part,Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

I don't want to compare this one to her first novel, but it's hard not to. Keplinger has a theme/format that works for her, and man does it work for me as well! Her writing is funny, down to earth, and honest. I loved all the revelations in this novel, and I wish more people would realize them and think the same way.

Lissa is definitely a character to which one can relate. In the interest of full disclosure, I was a virgin until I was 19, so I feel her on being embarrassed and not wanting to admit it when she has a serious, popular boyfriend. High school for me wasn't like it is for Lissa, but I can still see where the pressure comes from and how things like this get out of control.

The whole rivalry thing really did need to come to an end. It's out of control when no one even remembers why it exists in the first place. Lissa seems to mean well at the beginning because she's tired of coming second to this whole fight. She really should have examined closer to find that her boyfriend was just a jerk, but people don't always want the truth. I've been in that boat for sure.

Everyone wants a friend like Chloe. She's snarky, smart, honest, open, and not ashamed of who she is and what she likes. If we don't want a friend like her, it's because we want to BE her. She's spunky and fun and true to herself. It's not easy to be that honest with yourself. Chloe is the level head, too. She keeps Lissa grounded when Lissa needs a little help remembering the goal.

Like I said above, high school wasn't like this for me. I wasn't having sex or drinking or smoking, so I feel like these are risky topics for YA novels. However, I'm not a teen anymore, so I enjoy the heck out of these. By no means am I saying that it's okay to have sexy at 15 or 16 or whatever. Those are personal choices, and I'm already past all that. I kind of wish these were more adult novels than teen ones, but if high school is like this these days, then it fits. I just have no clue. A sex strike in high school just sounds scary.. lol. But I really liked this novel. It is funny, tragic, slightly predictable, and totally enjoyable. If you liked The Duff, you'll like this one!

What I liked:
  • Working together. The girls all come together in this novel to reach a collective goal. It's one thing that two opposing sides come together, but high school girls who hold grudges and hate people for no good reason sometimes? Woo!
  • Humor. Chloe is a really funny character. She keeps things interesting.
  • Honesty. It takes a while but people come clean throughout the novel. It's interesting to see how we are always judging. People are sluts if they like sex too much, and they're prudes if they don't like it at all. You just can't win.
What I didn't like:
  • Predictability. Maybe it's just because I read so much these days that I can see things coming. I didn't guess everything, but most of it happened just the way I thought. That's okay though, I still enjoyed it.
  • Format. It seems as though her novels may follow a pattern: single-ish dad, no mom, female MCs with slight neuroses, etc. It works for her, it's just curious.
Bottom line: If you enjoyed The Duff or like YA with a little raunchiness, check this out! Fun read!


4/5 book sharks!

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