Friday, October 28, 2011

SHUT OUT by Kody Keplinger

Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: September 5, 2011
Number of Pages: 273
Source of Book: ARC from Little Brown School & Library
Author's Website:

Goodreads Summary:
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

Then 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. But what Lissa never sees coming is her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling...

OK, so the cover of this book grabbed my attention and the premise sounded intriguing to me - I love girl power books - so I knew I wanted to read this one, and I'm so glad I did. I really enjoyed this book. Yes, it has mature content, but I didn't feel it was too overly graphic (actually less than I expected). And, yes, it was a little bit predictable at times, but, knowing the premise and type of book it is, I expected a little bit of that. This book was like comfort food - just what I was in the mood for and made me feel good. I still haven't read Kody's first book, THE DUFF, but now I'm going to move it up on my list. She is a great contemporary writer; this book was just an easy, enjoyable read. I had fun reading it - even literally laughing out loud at some parts!

The rivalry was dumb between the boys' sports teams, and the way it works out in the end is entertaining, but along the way, some really important things are learned. Lissa grows quite a bit in this book into knowing herself and being stronger in order to do what's right. Lissa's character, and in fact some of the secondary characters as well, is pretty multi-layered. She's dealing with the sudden death of her mother, and because of that, has some definite control issues. Cash's character also has more to him than originally meets the eye, and I absolutely appreciate a respectful, caring, good guy character in young adult books.

Overall, I think this book can be empowering to younger readers in some ways. The way it handles the idea of girls being ashamed of, embarrassed by, afraid of, or wanting to do sexual activity is treated in such a non-preachy way. It shows that everyone feels differently, and that's all okay. Not everyone is actually having sex or, in some cases, anything close to it. It's ultimately about doing what's right for you as an individual based on your feelings and beliefs, and it shouldn't matter what other people have to say. Seems to be a pretty good message for young girls to get in my opinion. Do what's right for you and don't let anyone pressure you into something you're not ready for. The boys who are pressuring girls are shown in a bad light in this book, and I'm glad that happens. When they go on the strike, and some girls mention a concern about their boyfriends cheating on them, it's put right out there that if the guy is going to cheat on you because of this, he wasn't a good guy to be with in the first place. There are a lot of misunderstandings and missed connections, but ultimately, the good guy with good, honorable intentions who wants to take care of the girl the right way, is noticed in the end. But, that only happens because the characters choose to finally sit down and talk with some straight-forward, honest communication with each other. It shows how much easier and less dramatic things can be if we just talk about them. The messages are all subtle, but they're really honest too, and that's why I think they'll be easy for teens to accept.

One of the things I liked the most was actually the elements of the girl friendships throughout this book. As the girls spend more time getting to know each other and get more honest with each other, they realize that there's more to each of them than they maybe had realized. The development of the friendships, and rekindling of others, and the way they stick up for and support each other is one of the most powerful parts of this book. It's not about mean girls; it's about girls standing up for each other and doing what's right to help each other out. As I was reading SHUT OUT, I was reminded of two other books that would be great to hand a girl who liked this one: NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL by Siobhan Vivian and THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB by Elizabeth Eulberg.

1 comment:

  1. This like a very awesome read! Plus, I like the cover too!