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Shut Out: Review

Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Release Date: September 2011
Published By: Poppy
Pages: 273
Goodreads Rating: 3.79 stars

Review: Lissa is sick of the rivalry between her school's football and soccer teams, especially because Randy, the quarterback and her boyfriend, always chooses to fight and do stupid things over her. She decides to take matters into her own hands by getting all the other players' girlfriends to withhold sex until the teams make peace. But what ensues is an all out boys-vs-girls war, with one element Lissa could never have expected: the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling.

I was a big fan of the author's first novel, The DUFF, and so I built up high expectations for this one, and that may be why I was mostly disappointed with SHUT OUT. Honestly, I liked it and overall I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn't as good as I hoped it would be and there were definitely some flaws I found in it.

One of these aspects that bothered me was the character development. Lissa started off fairly relatable and likeable, but as time went on, I became irritated with her obsession with winning the war at all costs. It felt over-the-top dramatic, and her blindness towards how bad of a boyfriend Randy was made me want to shake her at points.

As for Cash, I don't have anything specific against him, and that's partly where the problem lies. He was a decent love interest despite his made-for-romance name, but I felt like I just never got to know him and what he was like. He definitely had a personality and didn't feel like a one-dimensional character, but it seemed like there were sides of him we didn't get to see.

The themes on the other hand were very fleshed out, and perhaps too much. I'm all for learning about sex in a healthy way, and I agree with the lessons Keplinger showed through the novel, but many of them felt basic and a bit repetitive, covering all the bases (e.g. it's okay to have lots of sex, it's okay to have no sex, it's okay to like it, it's okay not to, etc.). Most likely, I found these lessons a little tedious because I already know them.

I do want to emphasize again that I did like this book. There were some characterization quibbles and I felt the theme bordered on preachy, but the plot itself was engrossing and there were many parts where I had difficulty putting down the novel. I would still recommend SHUT OUT to fans of the author's first novel as well as to younger readers who have had little exposure to this sort of topic.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review. This in no way affected my review.


We Heart YA said...

Hmm, good to know. We really enjoyed The DUFF, but Shut Out does seem to get mixed reviews. Our guess is that we'll feel pretty similarly to you. So thanks for the review!

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