Book Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
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…
Even considering how much I loved Keplinger’s last two books, I did not expect to like this book. It’s about a rivalry before the football and soccer players, two groups of people that I generally don’t care about. I hate sports, and I usually don’t get along with people who play/watch sports. I generally feel awkward around those people, and I don’t really like people that I’m uncomfortable around, so reading a book about such people didn’t sound like fun. Really, I only read it because it was written by Kody Keplinger, and I figured I should give it a shot.
I’m definitely glad I did. I think I actually ended up liking this book more than either of her other two. Lissa’s boyfriend Randy is sort of the stereotypical jerky jock, but other than that the characters are really well-developed and interesting. I still don’t really care about sports, but for the first time I can sort of understand the appeal of dating a sports player and cheering them on at games.
Lissa is my favorite of all of Keplinger’s protagonists, as I could relate to her more. She doesn’t always stand up for herself (at least at first). She’s awkward in social situations. She’s sort of bossy. She reads books with a red pen in her hand. She’s definitely my kind of character. She definitely grows as the story continues, and I enjoyed watching her slowly figure out what she wanted and how to go for it.
I also loved Cash Sterling. I liked the guys from the other two Keplinger books I’ve read, but there was something about Cash that I found myself drawn to (even though his name is ridiculous). I guess it’s because he reminds me so much of this guy I used to like. Like Cash, he flirted with everyone but never actually dated anyone. Like Lissa, I found myself hoping that something would happen with this unattainable boy and then having it all go sour without having any idea what just happened. So, really, a lot of my enjoyment from this book and the main love interest stems from my own background. But that’s okay, because everyone brings their experiences with them when they read, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s found herself in Lissa’s position before.
The supporting characters were great, as well. There are a lot of girls getting together to talk about not having sex, and Keplinger does a great job at making them all (or at least the ones that we get to see) sound unique. People view sex differently, and Keplinger does a good job of showing that with these characters. I loved Chloe. She’s loud and funny and doesn’t put up with any crap from people. She’s also not afraid to admit that she likes sex. I liked that the girls eventually started talking about sex and being open with each other. At times if felt a little too much like we were being lectured, but I don’t think it’s possible to have characters have that conversation (which was important for the novel) without sounding a little preachy, so I’m not really upset by it.
I definitely enjoyed this modern version of Lysistrata. The characters were realistic and amusing. Also, someone starts singing an ‘NSYNC song at one point. I mean, really, what more can you ask for in a book?