Friday, August 5, 2011

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

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?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

XP: Ringgold Reads

I wanted to make sure the most possible people see this so I'm cross-posting this from my other blog.

Many of you know I am 1/2 of the All 4 Alabama team to help raise money for a rural Alabama town that was hit hard by the destruction of the April 27th tornadoes.

Originally my friend Julie and I were going to team up together to raise money and help tornado victims but in the end we each decided to focus on different things. I really wanted to help rural Alabama and she needed to help her own community.

With the help of author Susan Gregg Gilmore and the participation of Random House, Ringgold Reads was created with a mission to rebuild the school libraries of Ringgold, Georgia and help to promote reading and writing as a way for students to express themselves after experiencing such a life-altering event.

Considering the number of books in a library, the number of different books needed is relatively small. However, the number needed of each book (70) isn't a small number. The list of books needed can be found under the Info link on the Facebook page.

Are you getting ready to start back to school shopping? Why not pick up an extra copy of The Great Gatsby or To Kill a Mockingbird? Did you see a copy of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas or A Walk to Remember marked down in your local bookstore's bargain section? Have an extra copy of The Hunger Games laying around?

Why not donate it? Every book helps and I know the teachers and students will greatly appreciate them.

Have a few unused credits on PaperBackSwap? You can use them at no charge to you AND help a great cause!

If you DO plan on donating, make sure you email them at to let them know the book and number of books you're donating so they can keep track of what they need. As for the books, you can mail those to:


I know I'll be on the hunt this tax free weekend to see what books I can snag. Will you?


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