my thoughts in a few sentences: Somehow Kody Keplinger manages to strike the right balance between light, funny, and cute, and offset it with heavier issues like sex, and all the decisions and pressures the act entails. Keplinger simultaneously tackles the wrongness of being pressured into uncomfortable situations, of girls being accused of and called abominable things because they like sex, and everything in between even while giving us situations to laugh over, to enjoy, and irresistible, adorable boys to ache for. Content from start to finish, Shut Out by Kody Keplinger is another hit that shows off Keplinger’s easygoing writing style, innate humor, and her fabulous skill at staging some of the best Sexy Times in existence.
hooking first line: "There is nothing more humiliating than being topless in the backseat of your boyfriend's car when someone decides to throw in an egg at the windshield."
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.In Shut Out by Kody Keplinger, Keplinger raises a ton of excellent points even while keeping with the light-hearted tone of her books that is so inviting. We are introduced to Lissa, a girl of raw nerves, guts, and riddled with insecurities that lead a suspicious trail back to her goofy boyfriend who is constantly causing her to doubt herself and her decisions toward sex, always making her feel broken open and ashamed for keeping her virginity intact, either with subtle comments or more drawn-out embarrassing sentiments. Lissa has to discover more about who she is, what she expects from herself, what she can handle and what’s she comfortable with, learning that she and only she has the right to decide and can reserve the right to change her mind and that that independence isn’t a cause for embarrassment as her boyfriend would have her believe.
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...
The concept that starts a rebellion amongst the girls-a strike to break up the school’s longest standing rivalry between their own sports teams-is so… unique, interesting. It takes some serious guts to organize something of that magnitude and to attract other girls to get involved. The friendships that form because of their united front are heartfelt and lend a sense of empowerment, of togetherness, and allows the girls to express themselves to each other without fear or shame in knowing that their thoughts and their stance on sex will be accepted. The feminine support is addictive and hilarious, bringing comfort even amongst enemies who just about swear, initially, never to befriend one another and instead come to an understanding they never would’ve reached otherwise. Old friendships are rekindled even as new ones are forged, and together they work meticulously to overcome the protest mounted by the boys.
Because this is such a short book, it’s easy to feel as if the romance doesn’t get enough page time, and, after careful consideration, I believe that holds true—I wish there had been more time to get to know Cash and witness more of that spark between he and Lissa. However, we can’t help but grin at the sexual tension, the frustrating unspoken questions, and the history that makes them uneasy with each other because it makes their coming together all the sweeter (and no, that’s not a euphemism for something naughty—or, is it? *waggles eyebrows*).
I could barely fight back calling GO TEAM! with all the girl power vibes fluttering around, and it’s amazingly entertaining watching both sides of the strike attack in their subtle ways to weaken the opposition. More than that, each girl discovers some truth they’ve been attempting to hide from themselves, and move forward capable of making better, healthier decisions with their well-being in mind. Overall, I was left feeling satisfied and enlightened and just itching to watch something that holds the same mood and themes. Keplinger has once again impressed me with another of her wonderfully-written, powerfully honest novels, and I can’t wait for the next!