Shut Out is Kody Keplinger’s sophomore novel, and if i hadn’t already been a huge fan of hers – then this book would have definitely won me over. It isn’t necessarily her best book, but is enjoyable and brings up some important topic. It’s a modern-day retelling of the play. Lysistrata – which is the story of one woman who persuades the women of Ancient Greece to withhold sex from their spouses in order to end a war. The story is a bit more complicated than that, but that’s pretty much the gist of it.
Kody Keplinger is one of the few young adult authors who – correct me if I’m wrong – deals with sex in such a matter-of-fact way. Her books don’t shy away from the less talked about, more uncomfortable aspects of the topic, and I love it. Shut Out features a ton of topics that aren’t normally discussed (both in books and in daily life) – expectations, stereotypical roles, slut-shaming. They’re all incorporated into the story in such a way that what the characters are experiencing is brought to your attention, but you’re not being lectured about the topics.
There was one thing about Shut Out that I didn’t particularly enjoy, and that was the introduction to all of these seemingly pointless things. I won’t go into detail (mainly because I can’t remember the specifics), but this was something that really bugged me. It was almost as if these things were there just to give the book more content. Not always a bad thing, as long as they have significance to the characters or even the plot – which they didn’t.
Hamilton High! I know that this isn’t part of a companion series, but all of Keplinger’s books are set in this fictional town (the name escapes me), and I just love it. The shopping mall, the all ages club thing, the parties. All of it is great! And then my favorite part. In all of Keplinger’s books – there is a girl who hits on Harrison – and it’s so funny, because he likes guys. It’s not funny that he likes guys, it’s just funny because it always happens. In this book, we get more of a look at the inner workings of the school, and I loved it. The whole idea of the rivalry between the soccer and football team was beyond ridiculous, but it worked – and provided quite a bit of humor.
Our main character, Lissa – was so freaking infuriating. But I kind of loved her at the same time. Most of her actions contradicted each other, and the things she said compared to what she actually did, didn’t match up. But it made her real. I could relate to her, and that’s really all I ever look for in a character. OKAY. Not really. But it’s one of the many things that I look for. And then there’s the secondary characters. Keplinger writes some of the best secondary characters. They always bring this extra something to the story, and Shut Out is no exception.
Kody Keplinger has this uncanny ability to write some of the cheesiest romances I’ve ever read – they’re cliches, and the guys almost always have ridiculous names, but I don’t care. Somehow she just makes it all work. Cash Sterling, while no Wesley Rush – is definitely swoon worthy, and deserves his own paragraph. Cash and Lissa’s relationship is freaking incredible. From the moment he’s introduced, you can see the sparks flying between him and Lissa. It’s great, and you guys. There is a LIBRARY SCENE. If you’ve read the book, you know what I mean, and if not. Well, you have something to look forward to.
Overall, if you’re a fan of Kody Keplinger’s books I would definitely recommend this one to you. And then if you’re a fan of contemporaries who deal with the topic of sex in an incredible way then this is the book for you. It wasn’t my favorite novel of hers, but it was very enjoyable.