Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Genre: Young-Adult, Romance
Pages: 273 pages (hardcover version)
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
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.
This is actually my first Kody Keplinger novel, second being A Midsummer’s Nightmare, despite the rave of her other book (debut novel) The D.U.F.F. The premise of the story was what made me read the book in the first place since it was about a sex strike. I thought it would be interesting and hilarious at the same time.
Shut Out is actually more than just about a sex strike. If you were to analyze this book in a literature class, then the main theme of this book is really sex in general. And if you’re familiar with Keplinger’s writing, then most of her books deals with taboo subjects and she’s very blatant about it in her writing which I do like to an extent. I put emphasis on that because there were moments as I was reading this book that she was being too preachy. As a matter of fact, this book to me felt like a feminist manifesto which I would have ignored/never caught on if I was my 15 year old self reading this book. And before anyone throws rocks at me, I’m not anti-feminist, just to make it clear. However, as a READER I don’t want to be lectured throughout the entire novel. It’s understandable to use literature as a way or at least attempt to change an individual’s mentality towards a subject or topic, but Keplinger was lacking in subtlety. I felt as if I was reading more of her views than really of the character’s. I personally dislike it when authors attempts to enforce their beliefs in a blatant manner and I sort of received that kind of vibe while reading this book.
I also had issues with the characters in the book. With the exception of the main guy, Cash Sterling, everyone else were not so likeable and one-dimensional. Lissa, the main heroine is a control freak and really comes off as annoying which I guess she has reasons for, but I found it difficult to empathize with her. She was bossy and sometimes just plain mean. In my opinion she lacked in character development. I think this is an issue in general that I have with Kody Keplinger. I’ve only read two of her books, but her main heroines are very hard to like. Nevertheless, there was no one I hated more than Lissa’s boyfriend, Ryan. He was such a tool. I didn’t get what she saw in him and how she could “love” him.
Though it may seem like it’s a negative review, I actually did enjoy reading it. It’s just that the things that I liked in this book was merely overshadowed by the things that I disliked about it, hence, I gave it a 2.5 stars. The romance was cute and the whole idea of boys vs girls rivalry was entertaining. If you just want some fluff reading for a good couple of hours then I’d definitely recommend this.