Reviews for Shut Out


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
In this story very loosely based on the Aristophanes play Lysistrata, intense rivalry between Hamilton High's football and soccer teams is the catalyst for the players' girlfriends staging a sex strike until the teams make peace. Some honest conversations and confessions about relationships ensue, but lack of character development and some weak plotting hinder this otherwise provocative battle-of-the-sexes story.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 August #2

A modern-day Lysistrata retelling that reinforces as many stereotypes as it overturns.

College student Keplinger (The DUFF, 2010) sets this version at Hamilton High School, where the football team and the soccer team are engaged in a 10-year-old rivalry. Lissa, obsessed with being in control since her mother's death in a car accident, is tired of her footballer boyfriend Randy's participation in pranks, food fights and seemingly endless cycles of revenge. Her decision to combat the problem by organizing a sex strike comes seemingly out of left field, but once the girlfriends of the two teams' players are united, they begin both supporting each other and comparing their own experiences with sexuality. The girls explore their shame about being labeled virgins, sluts or teases, whether any of the girls having sex actually enjoy it (it varies) and whether there's any such thing as normal when it comes to sex. Plenty of assumptions go uninterrogated, however: Only boys play sports, sex is far more important to boys than to girls and everybody is heterosexual. Cash Sterling, the romantic lead, bosses and wheedles Lissa far less than Randy but still intervenes in her life in ways discerning readers might consider invasive.

Enjoyable as a conversation-starter, but let's hope real-life conversations take a more critical approach to gender politics. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 August #3

Given that Keplinger (The DUFF) is using Lysistrata as the basis for her sophomore novel, it should come as little surprise that sex is at the heart of it. Her modernization of Aristophanes's play, in which women withheld sex from their husbands to persuade them to end the Peloponnesian War, has high school girls using the same tactic on their boyfriends, who are involved in an escalating rivalry between the football and soccer teams. Lissa, who is dating stereotypically oafish football player Randy, gets the other players' girlfriends to agree to the plan, and the girls bond over their experiences with the sex strike while relationships are put to the test. Keplinger has picked a hefty topic, but her characters lack the complexity to pull off a real triumph of girl power. There are some honest, sensitive, and surprising conversations about sex and relationships, and the overall crassness (both in terms of sex and casual profanity) creates a realistic high-school environment. But there isn't much more insight to be had than in your average teen sex (or in this case no-sex) comedy. Ages 15-up. (Sept.)¦

[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 September

Gr 9 Up--The rivalry within Hamilton High remains strong and bitter 10 years after the school board diverted funds from the football program in order to form a soccer team. Frustrated when the pranks and hazing interfere with her relationship with her footballer boyfriend, Lissa organizes meetings between the girlfriends of football and soccer players, during which they pledge a "sex strike" until the feuding ends. The pact backfires when Randy humiliates Lissa at the homecoming dance, revealing very personal information and potentially causing a rift between her and the girlfriends. To complicate matters, Lissa rekindles her crush on Cash, her library coworker and a soccer star. When the strike threatens to become more intense than the actual rivalry, the pact takes on some unintended significance, and several characters must face revelations about their sexuality. This is an honest portrayal of double standards among high school students; girls who clearly enjoy sex are considered sluts, boys with multiple sexual conquests are studs, and girls who maintain their virginity are teases. Although the story idea is a clever modern adaptation of Lysistrata, the execution falls rather flat, resulting in lesser issues, such as parental loss, being introduced but not fully integrated within the story. Current pop and cultural references keep things lively and the language is not quite locker room, but close. Fans of Keplinger's The DUFF (Little, Brown, 2010) will be entertained, but those hoping for more depth will be disappointed.--Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA

[Page 158]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2011 October
Having had her dates with the football team's quarterback repeatedly interrupted by a soccer team attack, Lissa decides she has had enough of the rivalry between her school's football and soccer teams. Lissa organizes the other football girlfriends and contacts her ex-best friend, the soccer team captain's girlfriend, so they end the feud. Lissa wants the girls to start a sex strike. Will the boys mend fences with each other so they can get back to business with the girls Lysistrata, a play in which women withhold sexual favors to end a war but unknowingly begin a battle between the genders, is an unlikely choice for the basis of a contemporary teen novel. This book helps make it clear why that might be so. High school girls controlling their boyfriends by denying them physical intimacy implies that they are all sexually active. The one girl who "confesses" to being a virgin wonders if she is "weird," leaving a second teen afraid to share that she is a virgin for fear of being mocked. The other extreme is covered by a girl who has enjoyed casual sex with many, many boys, earning her the "slut" label, until it is pointed out that boys do the same thing without consequence, so maybe it is acceptable. Not being pressured into sex is briefly discussed, but safe sex is not, and the author seems to think oral sex does not count either way. There is little character development but plenty of swearing, a single cigarette consumed, and not much plot.--Stacey Hayman 1Q 3P S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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