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...
You can always expect an honest exploration of teenage sexuality in Keplinger's books, mainly for females and I do appreciate that bravery and honesty. In Shut Out Keplinger deals with the idea of what's 'normal' in female sexuality, that's it's fine to have had sex and not to have sex. YA books can be criticised for including sexuality. People will always protest the idea of teens having sex so I like to see a book that shows how girls feel about their sexual experiences or lack of. Teens will have sex so maybe the idea isn't to try and force abstinence down their throats but show how they can have these experiences responsibly. If they want to have sex, talk to them and teach them responsibilities and if they don't, let them know that their choice is perfectly fine.
I respect Keplinger's message but I don't think we this message came through in the book very well and the author did fall into creating double standards. See we have our main character Lissa who is tired of being ignored and abandoned so her boyfriend can have fights with and prank their school's soccer team. Sometimes they're in the middle of foreplay and she's dropped within seconds because of this football vs soccer rivalry. So she's sick of it. I appreciate a heroine who will not be shoved around so when she gathers all the girlfriends of both sport teams to talk about their problems and sort something out I'm cheering. But I don't think I like the way it was handled.
I understand the story was inspired by Lysistrata but when this sex strike ends up as a rivalry between girls and boys and they start to tease each other I honestly don't think it's the best message to be sending out. Be a tease to make a point. The book made it out that it was fine for the girls to tease but not when the boys did. Personally I don't think either gender should be teases. And the way the girls agree that a sex strike would really make the boys listen is only implying to me that all men are sex obsessed. The boys in this book have sex, fight, and play immature pranks on each other. That's all they seem to do so while Keplinger's promoting female empowerment she does end up showing a bit of sexism towards males. I have plenty of male friends in high school. Some were a bit sex obsessed but some weren't. It does make me want to see some YA books that explore a teenage boy's sexuality because they go through the same crap females do and unfortunately I think the boys tend to be overlooked. I've known boys who have been terribly insecure and I'd like to see them have access to books that go through their problems.
There's always a neat little ending to Keplinger's books. The girl gets the guy and the romance she wanted. I would like to see a Keplinger book where the FMC is quite happy being on her own. It's just as powerful to show a female character who can accept being single for the time being. Not every girl has a boyfriend or doesn't want a boyfriend so I think we need to show those girls in books just as much.
It's an easy book to get through. Light and quick. But the messages are a little muddled which meant I had to give it three stars in the end.