RATING: 4 of 5 Stars
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction, Romance
SYNOPSIS: Sick and tired of the prank war going on between the Football and Soccer teams, and how it is effecting her relationship with her boyfriend Randy, Lissa has come up with a plan that will end the feud once and for all. She has gathered all of the girlfriends of football and soccer players and has convinced them swear an oath of chastity until the war has ended. While she expected her plan to bring the war to a quick end, she did not expect to create a strong friendship bond with the girls, one in which they could trust each other and really talk about sex without being judged.
REVIEW: Okay, so I’m throwing my normal blogging template out the window for today. And the way many of my blogs have been going lately, it might stay out the window, but I’ll think about that some other time. I’m just warning you now, so you don’t think something’s missing..there will be no “What I loved” and “Not so much” sections today, sorry.
Shut Out was an interesting read for me, leaving me a bit conflicted. On one hand, the book was extremely open and honest about sex, and sexual behavior among teenagers. On the other hand, the book had a lot of talk about teenage sex. Once again, I find myself liking and disliking the same thing about a book….but let me elaborate a bit.
I think at first what bothered me was that sex was just plain and simple THE topic of the book. The book started in full swing and it never really stopped from there. I have some reservations about making sex such a normal book topic in a young adult/teenage genre. But here’s the thing, no matter how much us adults would like to dance around this topic and pretend it doesn’t exist; to do so is to shut yourself into a closet and pretend the world doesn’t go on without you. The fact is, teenagers are curious about sex, they have sex, they want to have sex, they think about sex…. In my opinion, parents are way too closed about this topic. No, I don’t want to think about my kids having sex..but they are 7, 6, and 4, but one day they are going to be 16, 15, and 13 and I’m going to have to face the reality of this topic long before these ages come. I think it is important to be open, and especially honest about sex. I think most of us as kids were taught the science of it; how it works, what is done, what happens afterwards. We separated into classrooms, given pictures, and diagrams and made to understand the functions of our body parts. We learned the emotional aspects from…unfortunately in my case, Cinamax. Open conversation would do wonders I think, and would probably help teenager made better decisions.
And THIS is what I really loved about Shut Out. The bad part, these teenage girls were not discussing these things with their parents, not that it would have helped some. One of the girl’s mothers bought her a pack of cigarettes. Nice. But it’s reality, there are parents out there who promote unhealthy decisions. The good part, the girls got together and discussed these things with each other. What they found was that everyone was different. Some lied about having sex, because they didn’t want to seem abnormal. Some didn’t even like sex. Some, er well one at least, really enjoyed it. This hits on another wonderful part of the book. Kody Keplinger also is tackling the social norms of sexual behavior among the sexes. Is it wrong when girls like and desire sex, and are open about it? How about if a girl sleeps around, why is it that when a girl sleeps around she’s a slut, and when a boy does he’s “the man?”
Moving on. The characters. I liked almost all of the characters. They were a very believable bunch, and while reading there were times when you felt like you were right there at the slumber party with them. I did not, however, care much for Lissa – our main girl. I found her very annoying, and pretty selfish. I wanted to slap the control freak right out of here. I’m sorry, that is harsh. She has had a rough run of life, and she does understand she’s controlling, but sheesh. I’m surprised she was even able to function as a person. Oh, she has her good moments, she’s really good at making the other girls feel okay about themselves. On the flipside, there is Cash. I fell in love with Cash right away. He was just…well, the perfect guy is probably too much, but it’s what comes to mind. I actually wanted a better match for him. It is really abnormal that I feel this strongly about a female-lead, but I guess it’s bound to happen now and then.
In conclusion Shut Out was good. It is definitely worth the read. The characters were fun and believable and the story moved along pretty smoothly, and even had scenes that would make you laugh. No weird jumps in topic or scenes. I feel that, while I do not want to see this in every other YA book I read, Kody Keplinger has hit on some topics that really do need a bit of evaluation not only as teenagers, but also as adults, and especially as parents.
2 thoughts on “Shut Out – Kody Keplinger”
Fantastic review, Anita. I love that you referred to social norming research about how teens think there's a lot more sex, drinking, and drug use than there actually is. I belong in the group that lied about having sex because I was too embarrassed to admit I wasn't having sex! The book sounds interesting but I understand your squeamish reaction to a sex book in the YA genre.
This was a really, really great review! I've seen a lot of bloggers who are a bit taken aback by Kody's plain out talk of teenage sex. I mean, yes, it's reality, but yes, it's also very crude. I'm excited to read this book because so many people love it, and thanks for the heads up!