Title: Shut Out
Author: 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…
After being disappointed by all three of Kody Keplinger’s published books, I think I’m officially done with her books unless I hear 100% praise from everyone. It’s not that her books are bad, they’re just not for me, and her second book was no exception.
I read this book via an audiobook, which I rarely do, so this review is mostly going to consist of the audio aspect of it.
First up, the reason I rarely listen to audiobooks – the narrators. Normally they read much too slowly for my taste, although I don’t think that was a problem with this book as much. Narrators also tend to aggravate me with their different voices for characters. Either all the characters sound the same or the narrator tries to use too many weird voices that just don’t work. When I listened to a preview of this audiobook, I thought it sounded like a pretty good narrator, but the voices she used for protagonist Lissa’s best friend Chloe and some of the football girlfriends really got on my nerves. They would have gotten on my nerves if I just read their dialogue because they are really nasty in the beginning of the book, but the voices for them sure didn’t help.
And that brings me to all the slut shaming and girl bashing. Yes, I could tell that the book would probably end with a “see, we’re not so different” and “slut shaming is bad” message, but I really didn’t want to sit through all the slut shaming in the meantime just to hear a quick bit of preaching at the end. It seemed like the message was going to end up on the preachier side of messages, and since I already know that slut shaming is bad, I didn’t feel like listening to a message I already believe in. And, if this is like previous Keplinger books, then it might not resolve the girl bashing; many of the female characters in her books seem to rely on stereotypes and don’t grow much past that.
After listening to an hour and a half of the book and not getting interested in the story or connecting with the irritating protagonist, I decided I was done. I did a little Live Tweeting of the first few chapters and much of it was spent complaining about Lissa, which made me feel even more judgmental than she seemed to be, which made me mad at myself, which made me decide that putting this book aside was probably the best idea. There are people who enjoy this book and this author, but I’m not one of those people. I appreciate the fact that she writes sex-positive books, but they’re just not the books for me.