Friday, July 19, 2013

Book Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Pages: 273
Publication: September 5, 2011
Publisher: Poppy
Summary taken from 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...


SHUT OUT is an amazing sophomore novel. While I liked Kody Keplinger's first book, THE DUFF, SHUT OUT easily became my favorite out of her books (so far) because Keplinger took my favorite parts of THE DUFF--the amazingly developed characters and their real problems and the underlying message that most girls underrate themselves when they should be doing the far opposite--and takes it even further to discuss the hypocritical standards of society, particularly about societal expectations about males and females and sex.

And Keplinger writes about it in such a wonderful, unobtrusive way. She's not preaching about it at you; it's not even the main plot. But because it's written more like an unexpected addition to the sex strike, it's great for younger readers who have yet to realize the double standards that are imposed on males and females, especially the ones that are commonly brought up in high school such as slut shaming and giving up your virginity so early. It gives the readers a gentle push in the direction of feminism, and I am all for it. The more people realize just how unequal and unfair it is between the sexes, the better.

And can I just talk about how AWESOME Chloe is? She knows what she wants and she's not afraid to say it. She doesn't let rumors and name-calling get to her, and she's the best type of friend ever, always staying by Lissa's side no matter what and giving her sound advice. She sees through all of the bullshit of high school and relationships. Best of all, she's okay with being herself. No pretenses, no facade. Overall, she's great.

The other characters were also great. Lissa had her flaws, and although it took her a while to sort out her problems, she finally did, and she was likable once you understood all of her ticks and why she had them. Cash was an interesting male lead. At first, I was worried that he was going to be one of those stereotypical love interest who was hot and mysterious and that was it, but Keplinger proved herself once again on showing a guy who got embarrassed in front of the girl he liked and who was funny and had his own family problems--someone who was also human; not some perfect guy that everyone unquestionably fell for. And Randy...well, I already figured out how he was going to turn out near the very beginning.

The writing was great, the plot was awesome, and the characters basically carried the whole story. I definitely recommend reading SHUT OUT. And if you want to read a similar story, I recommend THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB by Elizabeth Eulberg, which is also a really good book although it had the potential to be something really amazing if it had expanded on some aspects of the book like how it did in SHUT OUT.

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