Monday, July 30, 2012

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger


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

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…

I have huge love for Kody Keplinger but was very late reading The Duff. Once I had though I ordered her other two books as quickly as possible. I adore her heroines; flawed, damaged and real. Initially, Lissa doesn't seem to fit this mould - after all she has a steady boyfriend in Randy and seems grounded and mature. However, it isn't long before the cracks appear. Her mother died in an accident that left her dad in a wheelchair. Desperate to ensure that nothing awful befalls her family again she craves control. However, she suffers from severe anxiety - her need to keep everything ticking over almost overwhelms her. Her adult brother doesn't tell her where he's going and her dad keeps sneaking food he shouldn't have. To top it all off the soccer and football teams at Hamilton High have a longstanding rivalry that is seriously upsetting Lissa. Randy constantly leaves her to settle scores, even when they're having a bit of erm, alone time in his car.

And so the "hookup" strike begins. The girls band together in an attempt to stop the crazy rivalry after a soccer player gets seriously hurt. For me the book took off at this point. I already had a great deal of sympathy for Lissa before but her character is laid bare during the strike. With the help of best friend Chloe we start to see the person Lissa could be if she wasn't restrained by her need for control. Chloe is a fabulous character; quite open about her love of sex and often shunned by other girls at school because of it. However, as is always the way, the boys don't get criticised for being single and having multiple partners. In the many meet-ups that the girls have to coordinate their attack Chloe is often openly attacked for her lifestyle. Chloe, the opposite to Lissa, refuses to let these attacks effect her and stands up for herself. I think it's interesting and refreshing that the author didn't feel the need to give Chloe a moral storyline and she allowed Chloe to stay true to herself throughout.

Of course the main part of this story is Lissa, Randy and Chase. I thought I pretty much understood her and Randy's relationship from the beginning but I was mistaken. Then there's Chase who surprised me by not being someone who I would have picked for Lissa. Normally it's pretty clear how things are going to go but I really wasn't sure about Chase to begin with. As the plot progresses Lissa loses sight of her goals and gets blindsided her own personal agenda. I loved this part of the plot, it really illustrated how driven she was. As she starts to step out of her confines she makes a few mistakes at first but the ending is wonderful. Shut Out was a bit of a slow grower for me but at about the one third point I couldn't put it down. The only sad thing is that now I have to wait for a new Kody Keplinger book to be published.


Jenni said...

This sounds so much like my kind of read, I must get and try Kody Keplinger's books.

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I didn't like this one as much as The Duff but it does have that distinctive Keplinger writing style that I love so much. I just got a copy of A Midsummer's Nightmare and can't wait to read it!

Michelle Fluttering Butterflies said...

I really became a fan of Kody Keplinger after The Duff as well, and now I have this and A Midsummer's Nightmare on my shelf waitng patiently for me! I think they'll both be quite fun to read!