After reading Kody Keplinger's debut novel The DUFF last year, I was really looking forward to see what was up next for her. I started hearing about Shut Out and without even knowing what it was about, I had to read it.
When I found out that All 4 Alabama had a copy donated for auction, I immediately decided that it was going to be one of the auctions I fought for and I did. I was SO excited when I won and I couldn't wait to get it in my hands!
What I really like about Kody's characters is that they seem very real to me. In Shut Out our main character is Lissa and she's a major control freak, but not without reason. She's dating the quarterback of the football team and when the football and soccer rivalry causes people to get hurt and gets in the way of her relationship, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She may not be able to control what the boys do, but she can control what she does or doesn't do. Soon, all the girlfriends are joining Lissa in a Lysistrata-esque sex strike.
During the sex strike, Lissa forms friendships with all the girls and even gets an old friend back. Something that happens more often than not when it comes to YA is the growth of the characters and I think Keplinger did a very good job showing Lissa's. She went from this girl that was embarrassed to even say the word "sex" to someone who organized a sex strike and helped not only herself, but others, be comfortable with who they were.
Now for Cash and Chloe. These two are the boy and the best friend and I thought these were great characters. I liked Cash from the second I was introduced to him. He's cute, athletic, and the boy all the girls want. He's unattainable but not because he's dating the queen bee or anything, but because there's only one girl he thinks is worth the time. He might be one of the most popular boys in school but I liked how he wasn't totally confident when it came to the one girl that mattered. Cash was understanding, tender, and sweet and that totally made him sexy.
As for Chloe, I think she rocked at being the best friend. She was the exact opposite of Lissa and they complimented each other really well. Where Lissa was private one, Chloe threw everything out in the open. She was considered a slut and a whore for liking sex and sleeping around but she was strong and confident and knew exactly who she was. When it came to being comfortable with sexuality she was the one who asked the tough questions like "Why can boys enjoy sex but not girls?" "Why should girls be deemed sluts when they enjoy sex but guys are heroes?"
My only complaint was Lissa's dad and his obsession with sports. Dare I say it? It reminded me of Charlie from that book, but worse. Practically every scene her dad was in there was some mention of the big game that was or had been on or a sports channel. He was likeable and I loved the part with the father/daughter talk, but he really seemed one-dimensional to me. Yes, I know. He's not a main character and he's just the parental presence but still. Can't we have a cool dad in a contemporary novel who ISN'T a sports fanatic?
This was a quick and fun read and totally something I'll read again. Keplinger definitely scored a touchdown with this sophomore novel and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next!
Do you think sex, or any kind of intimacy for that matter, should be withheld to get a point across? Will you be reading Shut Out?