Book Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: 09.05.2011 - Today!!
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.

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. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.

I want to be normal, but no one talks about sex, so how should I know what normal is?
-Kody Keplinger, Shut Out
To be honest, I wasn't sure I could handle what would obviously be a lot of talk about sex--if you've read the description, it is only a logical guess. I've tried a few books before that attempted to broach this topic, but none of them worked for me. But after seeing a few raving reviews, curiosity got the best of me and I found myself picking this book up from the bookstore one day, and picking it up again to read the same night. And I did. not. put. it. down. I read this book in one sitting, staying up until 4:30 the next morning to finish, 'cuz yeah, that's how I roll.

Back in April I read Bumped by Megan McCafferty...and wasn't much impressed. There really isn't much comparison between the two aside from the sex themes--one is dystopia, and the other is contemporary--except for the fact that the message both are trying to get across is the same: that you don't have to conform to other people's idea of normal; a message that especially applies to the females, in both books. While I never felt I really got right the message from Bumped, I definitely got it from Shut Out, and in a way that was surprisingly tasteful and enlightening.

What starts out as an attempt to end a decade-long feud between the two sports teams, turns into a battle of the sexes, and eventually a lesson in understanding as certain truths are revealed (and one big one that I never thought was coming) The realizations the characters come to are amazing, and I feel like I experienced something as I read. Their situations are exactly those of teenagers nowadays: feeling the pressure to either have sex, or to lie about it. As we get deeper into the story, this topic gets more importance as the girls come to find that our perception of others is often wrong. They begin to see not only each other, but themselves differently, as they follow the main character, Lissa, to who leads them through the strike.

But Lissa is a hot mess. She has control issues that run her life, she doesn't see what is often right in front of her, she is in denial about a few things, and she is struggling to cope with the death of a loved one. She's a real teen, who has problems of her own, but she takes charge and somehow manages to get herself through all the chaos. Even when it suddenly becomes personal.

The problems Lissa and the other characters face in the story hit close to home for me, and I assume they will for others, too. While I'm past my teenage years, this is definitely a book I wish I had at that age. Its message has the ability to make a deep impact, but it is subtle and doesn't feel preachy or forced. This won't be everyone's cup of tea, and I get that. For me, it is one of the best books on the subject that I have read, and has become an instant favorite.

Oh, and the love story? Believable, romantic, and completely swoon-worthy. You didn't think I'd forget about that, did you?

Read this if:
...you want a great love story nestled deep in the throes of a boy's worst nightmare; a shut out.

Fever Symptoms:
Loss of sleep, Inability to release hold of book, Accelerated reading, Inability to function, and the sensation of missing a limb after finishing.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Open discussion (and a few quick descriptions) of sex, and sexual acts, lots or profanity (especially the 'F' word), and a few sentences about others who are drinking underage.}

Watch the trailer!

Purchase Shut Out
Kody Keplinger:
Website  /  Twitter  /  Blog


  1. Everyone raved about The DUFF and now everyone's raving about Shut Out! I need my hands on both of those books NOW. Great review :)

  2. Great review, this sounds awesome! I've seen the cover around but never actually read the description (for some insane reason) and now I don't know what I was thinking! Why didn't I ever read about it before? HA. It sounds fantastic. Adding it to my list.

  3. Roxy: Yay! You should! :)

    Sophia: I haven't read The DUFF, but I will now that I read Shut Out. She's a great author.

    Andie: Lol, I'm so glad! I hope you love it!

  4. I just had finished the book! and it's totally AMAZING.. I love it! ♥
    have been reading it just 9h and you're totally right, because i couldn't stop reading it and the review sounds the same as i was thinking about it.

  5. Kimberly: Glad to hear it! Isn't is SO good? Glad you liked it so much.


Thanks for commenting! I read each and every one, and reply as soon as I can :)

Please note: The Reading Fever is an award-free zone. I am very flattered, but comments are all the thanks I need.


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