Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy – Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: September 5, 2011
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.
From the very beginning, Lissa’s voice was very clear. She was wacky, with a good reason why, but her frustration with her boyfriend was completely on track. I mean, really – a guy left a girl with her shirt off to chase a bunch of guys a couple blocks away. There is something really messed up between the guys – and it got violent. I was so happy when Lissa took a stand, even before the sex strike, just because it was ridiculous how these guys were so out of control. I loved her determination, and I was always on her side. Even when she went slight insane in the middle due to her control issues, I was always rooting for her, if not her method. She was a very lovable character, especially when her thing about Cash was finally revealed (no, not a romantic thing – well, sort of, but really just the reason why she feels the way she does about him). I sooooo wanted to hit him for being so stupid. But it all works out in the end.
The sex strike material was great, too. I loved how Keplinger dealt with common issues, especially in high school and teenagers’ lives. The innate insecurities, lies to protect self-esteem, questions that everyone thinks but are taboo according to society. I’m so glad that she breaks the unspoken rule to mention these things, because even though she doesn’t provide the answer, she definitely reasons out at least a part of it, that made sense, and besides being an entertaining read, it was also intellectual and enlightening. But don’t let those “big words” stop you from reading the book – it just really gave me a different perspective on life in general as well as those issues.
I highly recommend this book to anyone over the age of 14 (the publisher recommends it for over 15). There is “taboo” material, but I think that this book has made me realize how important the taboo subjects are. People don’t want to talk about them, so they ignore it, and they think that everything is fine. But for teenagers, especially, but for everyone in reality, it’s always healthier to have someone, even a parent, to talk to about something instead of asking yourself the same questions over and over again without a real answer because of embarrassment or uncertainty. This book is amazing – you won’t regret reading it.