So, I've been fighting a head cold all week, which sucks. But the good news is that with all the laying low I've been doing, I've had a lot of time to read! Nothing more comforting than an awesome book when you're stuck in the house all day!
And this week's book was a fabulous read! SHUT OUT by Kody Keplinger
A little about the book:
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...
This is Kody's second book. I remember reading her first, The DUFF, and being a little surprised...it had more language and sex than any other YA I'd read (yes, I'm a sheltered YA reader!) and that took some getting used to for me. BUT I ended up loving The DUFF and Kody's engaging writing style and characters.
SHUT OUT was no different. In fact, I think I might actually have loved it even more! Lissa, the main character, was well developed and easy to relate to, and I enjoyed watching her progression throughout the book. The story was really well paced and kept me turning the pages more and more quickly. Which, as I'm not a habitual reader of contemporary, is pretty huge! :-)
But my absolute favorite part of this book was the conversations between the girl characters about sex. The story begins with Lissa (and most of the other girls) feeling insecure and uncomfortable talking about sex...whether they've done it, or not. Whether they like it, or not....And throughout the book the different perspectives and stereotypes regarding sex were addressed in a way that felt very authentic to me. I loved seeing the girls realize that there *is* no "normal"...and, in turn, start to respect and empathize with each other more. To me, that was the single strongest element of the book because it was so real and so affirming for girl relationships.
That isn't to say, however, that the romance wasn't satisfying, because it definitely was. It also felt real to me, full of the confusion, vulnerability, and sexual tension I remember in high school...the push and pull of expectations and assumptions, and most of all...how difficult it is to let someone *else* witness your vulnerability.
SHUT OUT is a book for mature readers, especially those who enjoy a great romance, great female relationships, and a frank exploration of varying attitudes and assumptions about sex.
I hope you enjoy it!
Here's what the other Bookanistas are raving about this week!
Christine Fonseca interviews PIECES OF US author Margie Gelbwasser
Carolina Valdez Miller adores WANDERLOVE - with giveaway
Megan Miranda celebrates SLIDE – with giveaway
Jen Hayley takes a shine to STARTERS
Stasia Ward Kehoe discovers THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME
Tracy Banghart gives a shout-out to SHUT OUT
Jessica Love wonders at WANDERLOVE