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Shut Out    by Kody Keplinger order for
Shut Out
by Kody Keplinger
Order:  USA  Can
Poppy, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Shades of Aristophanes' Lysistrata! But instead of preventing war, as is the objective of the wives in the play, the young women of Hamilton High, aim to stop the cycle of violence that has become a tradition between the school's football and soccer teams. It's disrupting their love lives! The teens, led by Lissa, decide to start a hookup strike.

Lissa loves her quarterback boyfriend Randy, especially since he gets on so well with her father and her elder brother. Her mother died in the accident that left her dad in a wheelchair and Lissa has been a 'control freak' ever since. Now she organizes her female classmates (girlfriends of both football and soccer team players) to 'swear to abstain from all forms of sexual activity ... until the rivalry is put to an end.'

As her relationship with Randy deteriorates, Lissa grows closer to soccer team captain Cash Sterling, who's 'never once had a girlfriend'. Though they shared a romantic evening and kisses during the summer, he never called her, acting like 'that night had never happened'. Cash encourages Lissa to read Lysistrata and leads the boys in tempting the girls to beak their vow.

When a frustrated Randy lashes out at Lissa, her friends rally around, sharing their own diverse feelings about relationships and sex. 'What's normal? What is expected of us?' wonders Lissa. They all learn a lot about 'independence and confidence and breaking free of stereotypes and labels.' And though for a while winning becomes a little too important to Lissa, she eventually learns her lesson, ends the strike, and gets what she deserves.

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