Friday, July 20, 2012

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: September 5, 2011
Pages: 273 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: audiobook clip | book trailer | author website

Shut OutMost 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 gas 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.

Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.


Even though this is the first Kody Keplinger book I've read, she is one of my favorite authors. How? Because I love sex-positive authors who write sex-positive books. We need more ladies like her writing YA and I have serious respect for her. I was happy to finally buy a copy of Shut Out so I could see if she'd be a favorite author for the quality of her books and not just her open-minded way of writing about teens and sex.

Shut Out is an easy, breezy read I blew through while sitting poolside and Keplinger gets how real teenagers think, feel, and speak. I love that! I like most of the characters, though Lissa's boyfriend Randy being such a caricature irritated me. (Really, naming a sex-hungry boyfriend Randy? Those aware of British slang will see right through it.) Lissa fell a few notches when she kept referring to one girl as The Blonde even when she learned the girl's name (Autumn). Just no. It was silly and not like Lissa considering what she was preaching.

The approach to double standards and a woman's right to feel how she wants to feel about sex, whether she loves having it or wants to wait, is a little heavy-handed, though I agree with them whole-heartedly. I'm already thoroughly educated in feminism and the evils of sexual double standards that let men do whatever they want where women are prudes for not having sex and sluts for having it, so the way they are brought up and talked about bored me and felt like too much. For someone who hasn't thought about those double standards before or didn't even realize they were there, this head-on discussion might help or it might be too much. I've seen head-on approaches like that put people off and fail to get their entirely valid message across.

In addition, the way a contemporary spin is put on Lysistrata, where wives of warring nations go on their own sex strike in order to end the war (and win) is a teensy bit problematic. For these girls in the modern era to immediately decide they should go on a hookup strike, that implies the only way women can influence others even now is through their bodies. It's one thing in the source material, where that is unfortunately true, but it's another in Shut Out. I think an easy solution would have been mentioning earlier attempts to end the rivalry that failed, showing that they'd considered and tried to end the rivalry in other ways before deciding on a hookup strike as a last resort.

So I may not think Shut Out is the greatest and think the subject matter could have been handled better, but Keplinger remains one of my favorite authors. I still want to read more of her books and if I ever make it as an author, I soooooo want to be author-friends with her.

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein


  1. Thanks for the review, can't wait to get my own copy because I've heard a lot about this author!
    RB :)

  2. I really loved the idea of this book, as you said, because it carries a positive message, but I just didn't think her character work was that great. It's what I thought about Duff, too. She's getting better, I'll give her that. I'm really anxious to see what her writing looks like a few books from now.

    Excellent review.


I love hearing what others have to say about books and it makes me feel less like I'm talking to an empty auditorium, so comment away. Thank you for reading my blog post!