Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger Review

Shut OutShut Out by Kody Keplinger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

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.

My take: The last book I read by Keplinger took me off-guard. The DUFF was far too edgy and sexual for my liking. This time I understood the author's writing style and choice of content. Although I would still be leery of reading this book in a high school literature class, I found it illuminating and educating.

Just to clarify, language is foul. Just as foul as the first book. Like the first book, this is a book about sex. Unlike the first book, I liked the storyline and the subtle exploration of a young woman's relationship with sex. The protagonist, Lissa, is the instigator of the strike. Through relationships she builds with the other girls, an open dialogue emerges. Some girls use sex to prove independence. Some use it to keep their man. Still others don't have sex because they want to wait until they are ready. Attitudes are explored and societal expectations discussed. There is definite merit in this topic.

It surprised me how mature the author came across in the way she approached relationships - not just the sex part. Her understanding of the delicate balance of girl friends and guy friends and emotions and family had me floored. I forgot how young the author really is.

Make no mistake, though. This book is about sex and sexual activity. There were parts that would (and did) make a grown and married woman blush. I'd suggest reading it before handing it to your daughter. If you hand it to your daughter. I won't. Because I'm a parent and it's my call.

Still, I can't deny that the writing is very strong and Keplinger has matured as a writer and a person. I'd love to read her work without all the trash talk but I think this is her style. I still liked the book.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

I agree - Kody Keplinger uses quite a bit of language in her books, but it's actually quite tamer than what you would hear walking down the hallway of any public high school. Not that I'm saying I'm a fan of profanity (far from it), but I can appreciate the realism of her novels.

I also felt like she matured as a writer since the DUFF. This one wasn't nearly so in-you-face with the sex.