A modern-day Lysistrata retelling that reinforces as many stereotypes as it overturns.
College student Keplinger (The DUFF, 2010) sets this version at Hamilton High School, where the football team and the soccer team are engaged in a 10-year-old rivalry. Lissa, obsessed with being in control since her mother's death in a car accident, is tired of her footballer boyfriend Randy's participation in pranks, food fights and seemingly endless cycles of revenge. Her decision to combat the problem by organizing a sex strike comes seemingly out of left field, but once the girlfriends of the two teams’ players are united, they begin both supporting each other and comparing their own experiences with sexuality. The girls explore their shame about being labeled virgins, sluts or teases, whether any of the girls having sex actually enjoy it (it varies) and whether there's any such thing as normal when it comes to sex. Plenty of assumptions go uninterrogated, however: Only boys play sports, sex is far more important to boys than to girls and everybody is heterosexual. Cash Sterling, the romantic lead, bosses and wheedles Lissa far less than Randy but still intervenes in her life in ways discerning readers might consider invasive.
Enjoyable as a conversation-starter, but let's hope real-life conversations take a more critical approach to gender politics. (Fiction. 14 & up)