Shut Out

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
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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