September 5, 2011
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.
Being a huge fan of Keplinger's THE DUFF, I went into SHUT OUT expecting hot guys, chemistry that ignites of the pages, and a fun and fast paced plot. Sadly, I only got a few of those things and I am left feeling somewhat disappointed in SHUT OUT's execution when I know that Keplinger can do so much better.
I had no problems with Lissa! I found her neurotic tendencies hilarious and she reminded me a bit of myself. I am so concerned with organization, hate when anything is out of place, and am a bit of a control freak. I loved Lissa's idea to end the rivalry between the soccer and football team. It lead to some pretty...interesting scenes and hilarious sleepovers!
I absolutely adore Cash! For once in YA, there is a cute, flirty, and funny guy who isn't obsessed with girls and doesn't have that much relationship experience. It was refreshing to have the girl ahead of the guy for once. Although Cash really doesn't date, I'll give him this--he sure knows how to make a girl swoon. I fell for him right away and I was rooting for him and Lissa the whole time.
And now I get into the not-so-fun part of explaining what I was disappointed in. For one, I wasn't all that happy with how long the story took to take off. I expected a battle of the sexes in the beginning, not 2/3 of the way in! It was also way slow in the beginning. While there were some cute moments between Lissa and Cash, the plot still wasn't exciting for a little while. However, that last 1/3 of the book had my emotions going and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I just wish all of the story had been like that.
Now if you loved THE DUFF but a little unsure of whether to try SHUT OUT, let me tell you, while it doesn't at all measure up to THE DUFF for me, it is still an engaging novel that you will enjoy.