Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review: Shut Out, by Kody Keplinger

Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Rating: ✮✮✮
Book Depository | Indie Bound | Goodreads

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...

While it seems totally superficial and maybe a tiny bit ridiculous at first, I enjoyed Shut Out enough to read it in one full sitting. It was a breezy, fun way to spend a couple of hours, and I was totally immersed in Lissa's world and what she was doing for herself and for the girls at her school.

Lissa is a smart girl, full of neuroses but still popular and surrounded by friends anyway. She's tired of a stupid feud between sports teams because it means her boyfriend makes her feel used, and her brilliant idea is to propose a sex strike. So much of this is plucked from the play Lysistrata, which Cash even points out to Lissa. (Juuuust because you point it out in the book doesn't mean you didn't yank the idea wholesale from the play, Keplinger. Just saying.)

Keplinger is a decent writer, but maybe not quite as fantastic as she could have been for writing this book. It didn't really need flowery prose or navel gazing, but something a little stronger would have made the book have more of an impact than it did when I finished reading. At times, it felt like Lissa was simply Keplinger's soapbox as she ranted about sexual stereotypes and patted herself on the back for questioning them and having Lissa's fellow classmates begin to find their own sexual identities along the way.

It was still a whole boatload of fun, however. I had my problems with parts of it, but I have to at least shake Keplinger's hand for writing a YA novel all about sex -- and not just about sex, but girls talking about and discussing what sex means to them so openly.

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