Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!
Kelly Jamieson takes a heavy topic such as date rape, drinking and suicide and uses it well within Shut Out(Bayard Hockey #1), what at first seems to be a typical new adult set in college. Because of the deep subject matter within in the story, this isn’t your typical angsty romance. The main couple appear very well rounded and mature for the things they have endured, which should appeal to readers. The way Kelly has Jacob and Skylar handle these issues is impressive, but at times I felt like there was something big missing between these two. There’s open dialogue and very little miscommunication, but the tension and drama is a bit lacking. But overall Shut Out is a pretty solid read.
Jacob was a rising star in the Canadian hockey league. But one night everything came crashing down on his head. He was guilty by association because two of his buddies raped a girl during a party, who was too drunk to understand what was going on. Jacob left before he was too involved, but didn’t stop what was happening. Because of it, he has incredible guilt because he should have stopped this awful and traumatic act. But because he didn’t, he now has been exiled to America, and in order to have any type of career in professional hockey, he has to graduated college, and keep his nose clean. Jacob leaves everything behind to start over again, hoping no one finds out about his recent past.
Skylar is studying to be a doctor, not because she loves medicine but because she wants to make her parents proud. Her older sister is the shining star, and Skylar feels like a failure, especially when one of her best friends kills himself. Her life is studying and volunteering for a group to discuss sexual harassment and rape. She meets Jacob a second time at the group and is less than impressed with him. The reason is because the first time she met him, she was pushed to going to a party by her roommates. She and Jacob hit it off, they begin to make out and then he backs off. She feels insulted because he makes her think it was a mistake he kissed her. Jacob soon realizes he hurt her feelings, and wants to make it up to her. He’s attracted to her, and is impressed by her work ethic and dedication to school. Eventually Skylar thaws toward Jacob, and soon they’re friends who become more.
Jacob is all about respect now, especially with Skylar. He asks her for permission regarding any type of intimacy because of what happened back in Canada. When she gives him the go ahead (to give her as many orgasms as she can stand), he feels like he’s king of the world. He also listens to Skylar and gives advice about her future, recommending she come clean to her parents about what she really wants to do with her life. But then can Jacob come clean with her about his past that brought him into her world knowing she might reject him if she thinks he’s guilty of hurting another woman?
Shut Out reads like your typical romance set in college, but again because of the subject matter of rape and consent, there’s more here to process. Jacob is a sweetie pie of a hero who loves women and loves being with them, but he’s now more cautious and has learned a big lesson when it comes to a woman’s consent, especially if she’s been drinking. That message is loud and clear and well written. There’s also a big twist with Skylar and her friend who killed himself. That was a big shock because it was unexpected, and gives another dimension to the consent issue that’s rarely discussed. It really makes you think. Shut Out is the type of book that may stay with you a long time after you read because of that.
Those who enjoy new adult college romance will want to read Shut Out, including the topics and subject matter Kelly brings up that’s very powerful and thought provoking in many ways.