Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: September 5, 2011
Format/Source: Hardback/Borrowed from Library
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary, Retelling
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…(From Goodreads)
Book Club Love…
Several of the girls in my book club loved Kody Keplinger’s debut novel, The Duff, so Shut Out was chosen by one member as our February selection. I hadn’t read The Duff, but as I started reading this one, I wasn’t sure I wanted to anymore. But let me just say now that I probably will still pick up The Duff someday – just not any day soon.
I had a lot of problems with this book. The main problem was that I just didn’t like the main character, Lissa. She was pretty whiny and very controlling. Yet I do realize that this is what teenage girls are often like. Since I am twice the age of Lissa in the novel, and often twice the age of the characters in the other YA books that I read, I do sometimes have to remind myself that, even though I am annoyed by what a character says or does, it is realistic. Yet I can only remind myself of that fact so many times before it just becomes an unlikable character for me. Yes, I want the characters to be complex and have flaws, but they need to grow a lot for me to like them in the end. And unfortunately, while there was some growth with Lissa, she just didn’t mature enough for me to be happy with her in the end.
I also had a major problem with the big reveal. As one of the girls in my book club put it, the events leading up to the reveal were so misleading that instead of being vague or cryptic, it seemed as though the author was lying to us. I LOVE twists and turns and things like that, but I really feel like this wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. There were some other inconsistencies that bothered me, as well.
A Bit of Redemption…
I DID, however, like the fact that this book talked openly about women, their sexuality, and the double standards that are so commonplace in today’s society. Women are taught to hide their sexuality, lest they be called a slut or worse, and men are respected by their peers for their sexual conquests. I liked the girl-power aspects, and I definitely think that it was a wonderful idea to use the forum of a young adult novel to open up discussions, but the rest of the book just really fell flat for me.
But 4 out of 7 of the girls in my book club really enjoyed this book, while only 3 of us didn’t enjoy it. So if you like this author, or if the premise sounds interesting to you, you should try it out (and check out the reviews I’ve linked below, which are much more praising than mine).
My rating for Shut Out by Kody Keplinger:
2 stars. I really didn’t enjoy it, but there were some positive aspects to the novel. It was based on the play Lysistrata by Aristophanes. Perhaps if I had previously read this play I might have found the book more entertaining.
Disclaimer: I borrowed a copy of this book from my library, and although it was a pick for my book club, I was in no way compensated for this review.