Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Release date: September 5th 2011
Pages: 273
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: Bought
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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.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I loved Kody Keplinger's The DUFF, and Shut Out sounded like another fun, empowering read. But while there were parts that I really enjoyed, I found myself a little disappointed; in comparison to The DUFF, Shut Out felt underwhelming to me.

One aspect I did like is the way the topic of sexuality is addressed. That's what I liked best about The DUFF, and it's the best thing about Shut Out, too. Kody Keplinger has a very mature and realistic view of teenage sexuality; her portrayal is honest and empowering. The sleepovers and the scenes in which the girls discuss what is normal and what is not were probably my favorite scenes in the novel.

However, I'm not sure what to make of the characters. I did like the diversity, the different views of sex that Lissa, Chloe, Mary, Ellen, Kelsey, and the rest of them represent. But, in a way, that's the problem - they represent different views on sex, and that's it. They're limited to their opinion on sex, instead of having personalities and interests unrelated to the main topic, which I thought was disappointing. They made for a fun cast and I really liked the relationships between them, but I was underwhelmed by the actual character development.

To me, there was just something missing about Shut Out - I wanted... more. The whole sex strike idea sounded really fun at first, but the execution was kind of... meh. I wanted more battle-of-the-sexes type of stuff, more drama, just... more. Instead, Shut Out ended up focusing more on the romance storyline, which I just wasn't a big fan of. The romance is completely predictable; the love interests' characters are underdeveloped and too obviously of the good-guy/bad-guy variety. I found that whole storyline predictable and cheesy.

Then there's the family storyline, which I think had potential but didn't end up getting used enough. What we know about Lissa's coping with her mom's death, and her relationship with her dad and brother, stays very superficial; if we'd gotten to know more about this, I think the family storyline could have given us great insight into Lissa's character. The way it is, it didn't contribute enough to our overall view of the main character.

I know my review sounds very negative, but really, Shut Out is not a bad book. There were many things I enjoyed about it; it's a quick, fun, fluff read with a positive message. Sadly, there were other aspects, like the lack of drama and the cliched romance storyline, that I just didn't love, making Shut Out an underwhelming read for me. However, I'm still going to be reading Kody Keplinger's next books, just because I love her portrayal of sexuality, and am hoping to love A Midsummer's Nightmare as much as The DUFF.


  1. I like this book because it kinda reminds me of those 90s teenage movies that I loved so much. But I agree that it feels too shallow and predictable and actually I kind hope that it has different ending. Just to make it less movie-like and more realistic.

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