Shut Out

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Release Date: September 5, 2011

5/5 Stars!

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.

You know those times when you hear about a book, it has an awesome description, and the cover is great so you're really excited to read it and then you're disappointed by it?

Shut Out isn't one of those books. Not even close!

All of the above things are true, but so is the fact that Shut Out is awesome; so good you'll want to read it over and over and pass it along to all of your friends. Your best girl friends, that is.

Fair warning, right off the bat: this book is about sex. Oh, and more sex.

And I'll confess that I was a wee bit apphrehenisive going into this knowing that it would largely be about, well, sex. And it is about sex. But in a GOOD, healthy way. It's very cute, super funny.

The kind of book where I found myself literally sitting on the couch and laughing out loud at Kody Keplinger's writing. And that doesn't happen very often, pretty much never with me actually. So this is HIGH PRAISE indeed, coming from me at least. But in all honesty, this is such a fun read!

I will say though that the message Keplinger's writing about regarding sex does come across kind of forced at times. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing either! It's an important message, one that the young women in her novel are just starting to discover for themselves. And even better, Shut Out is a great tool to use to bring up this discussion of sex and exactly what it can mean for people. The best part about this is that Keplinger absolutely does not shy away from this, but she tackles it head on. She deals with all the questions that a lot of teens (and particularly teen girls) are dealing with themselves, and shows that there's no shame in talking about sex.

I loved that she accomplished this using such a smart, strong heroine like Lissa who considers respect a trait she's looking for in a boyfriend. She is such an admirable young woman, and even though she isn't perfect and makes mistakes along the way, she's willing to learn from those too. But she doesn't mope around when bad things happen to her. She finds ways to deal with them, and more importantly she tries to find HEALTHY ways to deal with them and health ways to live her life. This is exactly what made Shut Out such a wonderful novel. Keplinger deals with an issue that most people don't want to talk about, and she does it in a responsible way that will hopefully encourage more young women and teens to look for the same kind of resolution that Lissa and her friends found as they embarked on this small little journey of self-discovery.

I was especially pleased to read about Cash, who was such a good guy. He was just so hot and respectful of Lissa, it kind of reminded me of Zac Efron in 17 Again giving his speech in sex-ed class.... Also, I noticed that Cash is scared of fish swimming around and I am too, so we're pretty much soulmates. Right?

Now for my little input at the end of this: as true as it is, I was disheartened by the attitude Lissa felt regarding religion and sex. It wasn't obvious, and it was very subtle, but it came up a few times and I just wanted to touch on the fact that Lissa felt so uncomfortable having a Bible around when they were talking about sex. And that's understandable. But at the same time, I wish it wasn't. I wish more people could be open about this in every context, but particularly a religious one seeing as I'm Christian myself. Yet I'm aware that it's only recently that I've discovered personally that there are other women out there who are completely devoted to their faith yet also willing to acknowledge that their is a right time and place for sex to be enjoyed and that we can be open about being sexual beings. And I really hope that this is something that more people can come to terms with as well. Like I said, this wasn't explicitly dealt with in Shut Out, but I felt that it was also something worth discussing.

Extra special thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing me with a finished copy in advance of the release date to review in exchange for my honest review! No other compensation was received.


Susan Oloier said...

This is the second five-star review I've seen of Shut Out today. Need to add it to the list. Thanks for the review.

Brenna said...

You must read it! I had high hopes for it, but I was still surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Kody Keplinger is just wonderful, I have a feeling this is going to be one of the best fall books this year.

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