Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Series: N/A
Pages: 273
Publisher: Poppy
Date Published: September 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Contemporary (YA)
Source: The Spring Book Exchange!

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.

My Review:
Dude, after reading Kody's debut novel, The Duff, I was absolutely hooked. As soon as I saw the blurb for Shut Out, I knew that I'd HAVE to get my hands on it! I was SO thrilled when my fabulous Santa from the Spring Book Exchange sent it to me! I literally dropped everything in my TBR pile and started it immediately! My only regret is that I didn't pre-order it back in September! lol!

I absolutely adore the way that Keplinger tackles current issues for teenagers. She jumps on them head-first, with no apologies, and comes right out and talks about issues that a lot of teens have, but not a lot of authors are willing to discuss. A lot of her books revolve around sexual identity in teenagers, more specifically in girls, but the discussion offered in the books deals with how guys view sexuality as well. There was a lot of good in this book, though it might be a difficult one for some teens to talk about. Things like being a virgin when all of your friends aren't, or girls liking sex just as much as guys do but being called sluts and whores because of it. The book in no way pressures teens to have sex though. Several characters are virgins and talk about why they choose to be that way and that it is fine to not have sex. I really liked that because people forget that sometimes teens just aren't ready. It doesn't have to be a religious or family thing to remain a virgin until their twenties, but sometimes people are treated like they are weird because of waiting and I loved how Kody wasn't afraid to deal with that side of the issue.

Shut Out is much more than a funny story about a sex strike. It handles issues of sexuality and being sexy in a way that makes them fun and normal instead of icky and intimidating. I know that in high school, I was sometimes terrified of the opposite sex. And even though there were SOME girls you could talk about those issues with, you never wanted to get too into detail for fear of being called weird or having someone tell you that you were doing it wrong or something. There's more to the story than just sex as well: like all of Kody's books so far there is a lot of emphasis on family dynamics, as well as love (especially unusual loves).

Lissa is an interesting main character. She wasn't very likable at first because she's so neurotic and compulsive. I couldn't believe the way she ordered around her dad and older brother. I mean...he's like 5 years older than she is, why does he have to report to her about why he was TEN minutes late coming home from work? It got kind of irritating at times actually. I guess I can see her being so clingy and obsessive after suffering the loss of her mother, but if my little sister was harassing me about where I am and what I was doing, I would have to slap her upside the head. Still, I think that Lissa's compulsions are part of what is supposed to endear her to us, and I think that they are also what helps keep all the other girls in line when they start wanting to stray from the pact. I think that overall Lissa was a strong and relatable character who may have needed just a tad more dimension to get her likability up. Still I had lots of fun seeing the world through her eyes and can't wait to see what Kody has for us next!
I give Shut Out 4 out of 5 Keys! It was a delifghtfully funny, emotional and meaningful read that both teens and adults will enjoy. Super conservative families may question the moral implications of sexuality in this book, but I am asking them to at least give the book a shot before banning it. Today's teens have a lot more to deal with than their 1950's counterparts and I think that Shut Out helps put a normalcy and reality on sex that helps kids realize that whatever their take on sex is...be it celebacy or promiscuity, they need to make it for themselves and feel good about who they are as people. Of course, it's not just a PSA for sex. There are a TON of hilarious moments and swoonworthy boys and straight-up-laugh-out-loud scenes.
P.S. I am reading Shut Out for the TBR Pile Challenge! 


  1. I have been wanting to read this book for a while. It sounds really good and your review made me want to read it even more. I also want to read DUFF.

  2. Great review! I think I may have even liked Shut Out better than The DUFF. That being said, I can't WAIT for her new one to come out next month. I'm sure it will be just as clever. :)

  3. I thought Shut Out was a cute little read for when you're feeling like something light and fluffy. I haven't read Ms. Keplinger's other book, The Duff, but this book was cute enough that I may just check it out to see what else she's writing. I would recommend this to an avid contemporary reader and not necessarily someone who's looking to be introduced to the contemporary realm, if that makes sense.