I’ll admit when I first read the blurb for Shut Out, I was a little let down. It just didn’t sound as good as The DUFF, and after such a fantastic debut, I wanted to love Kody Keplinger’s next novel too. While it definitely surpassed expectations, it didn’t quite live up to The DUFF for me. Being one of my favorite contemporaries, that would have been hard to do anyway.Kody Keplinger captures the teen experience perfectly. Upon first glance, it may seem like she overdoes it in regards to how sexually active her characters are, but in reality, I think she hits the nail on the head. The truth is, they’re having sex, and a lot of them who aren’t having sex wouldn’t admit it, for fear of being made fun of for being a virgin.I love that this is an issue Kody addressed in Shut Out. If you have too much sex, you’re a slut, if you don’t have sex at all, you’re prude, if you love sex you’re a slut, if you hate sex you’re weird. There are so many “standards” floating about, that teens will most likely be ridiculed by someone no matter what they choose. The message sent in Shut Out in regards to this is a positive one.Like The DUFF, friendship is a strong theme in Shut Out, and I adored every character. (Except Randy, but I don’t want to spoil that for you.) Lissa’s best friend Chloe was probably my favorite of the girls. The majority of the guys were even swoonworthy, and much less douchey than they had the potential to be. (This is definitely a good thing.) I thought I liked The DUFF’s Wesley? Pft. Cash Sterling is bloody swoonworthy, and this time it’s for all the right reasons! Shut Out is loaded with messages regarding love and sex, friendship, communication, and society’s standards. It did not disappoint.