Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Shut OutBook: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publication Date: September 5, 2011
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 273
Rating: 2.5 Stars
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...
I think I know what Shut Out wanted to accomplish. I think it wanted to be a rahrah womanhood book, but in the end, the preachiness of the entire thing turned me off. If it had just been a light-hearted read about a bunch of girls trying to get back at their boyfriends without all the fanfare about sex and how it doesn't define a person, I would've enjoyed it much more.

After reading The DUFF and being too disgusted with it to finish, I didn't really have high hopes for this book. But after reading, I have to admit it's better than Keplinger's debut. The premise is interesting: a sex strike? Some things weren't believable to me, especially the fact that everyone was having sex in this high school (or something close to it). In my experience, there are select people who can be classified as sluts or whores, but the entire population as a whole usually doesn't start having these huge debacles with sex until later. Call me jaded, but I'm graduating high school, and I'm a bit sick of the stereotype that high school athletics are breeding pools of sex and debauchery, because really, they're not.

The main character pissed me off. Lissa was whiny, neurotic in a bad way, and a complete bitch to everyone, including but not limited to her best friend and the potential love interest. I found it difficult to believe it was so easy for her to repair her friendship with Ellen. And the fact that Cash (what is with the name? Bleech.) first became attracted to her because she was beautiful?

Urgh. And she was given this sad background, with the dead mom and wheelchair-bound dad, but I never could summon up much sympathy for her, which was also a problem when I read The DUFF. It's funny because I liked virtually everyone else. I liked the slutty best friend, who had these tiny nuggets of wisdom when they mattered. I liked Mary and Finn, and their adorable relationship with each other, which I would've preferred to learn about over Lissa and Cash's lackluster one. I even liked Kelsey. I liked all the girls, because they did what was right when it mattered.

But Lissa didn't. Lissa pretty much offended everyone, but they welcomed her back. For a couple of chapters, I had to deal with her repeating We have to win. We have to win, as well as her endless droning about how guys suck, and her gigantic text blocks of inner monologue where she mused over how sex is okay and being a virgin is okay and OKAY I GET IT. I've never read a book that preached so obviously as this one did, and I did not like it. At all. It ruined the story, it ruined the main character, and it ruined the experience.

Giving this 2.5 because despite the way the storyline annoyed me, there were some random moments that squeezed a couple chuckles out of me. And Cash was too perfect to be true, despite his name.

In unison, they stripped off their shirts and tossed them onto the grass. An audible sigh--like the ones you hear on a sitcom that is "filmed in front of a live studio audience"--filled the room. It was almost funny, really. Such a strong reaction to a bunch of shirtless boys.

Of course, Lissa had to come in and ruin it by shutting the window and forbid the girls from looking. What's wrong with looking, I ask you?

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