Why does Shut Out get so little love? Admittedly, next to Kody Keplinger's other two books, this one doesn't have that same spark of omg-flipping-awesome. But it has a lot of merit, and just like her other books, I enjoyed this romance a whole, whole lot. To think I was expecting it to be really average due to the ratings of my friends... sad! Prospective readers, do not fear! Kody delivers again!
Shut Out is another edition of Kody Keplinger clearly proving to the world she knows just what it's like to be a teenager and what teenagers think/talk about. This book focuses on... sex. At least from my experience in the States (and keep in mind that I lived in ultra-conservative Texas), talking about sex is such a taboo that it only has a seriously negative effect on teens. They don't know what the expectations are. Stereotypes get thrown around. Slut-shaming becomes completely normal. Double standards are created. Kody again manages to tackle such a crucial issue for teens in a beautiful story. And I loved reading it. It's one of those stories that I feel is just really really important.
"Because I want to know what's normal." She hesitated and then looked down at her bare feet on the tile. "I want to be normal, but no one talks about sex, so how should I know what normal is?" -Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Arguably, of Kody's three works so far, the romance and the love interest in this one are the most appealing. Cash is amazingly sweet and hot and... amazing. Their romance suffered a tiny bit from Lissa's naiveté, but her reactions and doubts blended really well with her personality to the point where I didn't mind it too much. But let's focus on the good things - and there are many. They work together in a library. There are admittedly hot scenes in a library. They bond over books. This is a book nerd's dream come true, seriously. And all around it's just totally sweet. There are these scenes with just the simplest things, like holding hands, that completely melted my heart. Admittedly I have something with hand holding...
Anywayyyy. Kody also has a gift for writing secondary characters who create strong friendships. Here, Chloe is the best friend who is open about how much she loves sex. She's really inspiring and challenges the other characters to think about their prejudices, and all throughout the book, she is a perfect friend to Lissa. Then there's also Ellen, who admittedly has her issues with Lissa but proves that, in the end, friendship is a lot stronger than petty high school drama. I just love how Kody portrays friendships. They're just so healthy and strong.
Lissa's character and growth throughout the novel was also very dear to my heart. I could relate to her control-freak tendencies. I sympathized with her situation with her dad, her anxiety due to the loss of her mother, her insecurity in her relationship with Randy, her realization that she needed to stand up for herself and speak up... She wasn't a strong main character, she wasn't a badass, she didn't go through a tremendous growth story full of twists and turns, but she just felt really real. I couldn't help but have deep respect for her.
Overall, I really enjoyed Shut Out. Of Kody's three works, it is admittedly perhaps the least special, least memorable, but I did find it to be an important story, and the romance was completely adorable and hot. And let me just stress that this being my least favorite of Kody's books doesn't mean much - she is a brilliant author who is definitely on my auto-buy list. I don't think she could possibly write a book I wouldn't enjoy and find merit in. Great job, Kody! (What am I to do now that I am out of Kody Keplinger novels to read? SAD DAY.)
P.S. I will be rereading that library scene. Often. Like a lot. Tons. Okay.
People tired of slut shaming, and in the mood for some sweet and hot romance.