Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review of The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

I rarely read books in one sitting, but there are books that I put down only for one of three reasons: to sleep, to eat or to make sure my dog has her walks. Until I read The DUFF, Mockingjay was the last book I read under such conditions. I wasn’t content until I knew what happened to all of the characters.

I’m afraid that The DUFF will be a book which a lot of people read one chapter of, and then put down. It quickly becomes clear that this is a book that has a fair amount of teen profanity and sex, and at first, the characters don’t really seem all that likable. Bianca is excessively cynical, kind of untrusting, occasionally makes poor choices and is selfish, while Wesley is womanizing and also selfish. Yet by the end of the novel, the characters were what I liked most about this book.

Bianca reminded me a little bit of myself during high school. Yes, she thought of herself as a DUFF, or a Designated Ugly Fat Friend, and at times, I saw myself that way as well. I think what I could relate more to was her tendency to be kind of untrusting of guys, and judgmental of her female peers. I will say that I got a bit frustrated with her on the final page, but was overall impressed by how she grew as the story went on. One character I actually didn’t care for as much was Bianca’s best friend, Casey, who I felt was a bit clingy at times. As for Wesley, you’ll just have to read the book to learn more about him.

With my attachments to these characters formed, reading The DUFF was a captivating experience. Just when I thought I would finally go to bed, I would realize that I needed one more chapter. I had to know how things worked out! I also have to say that I liked how this story is not just about love, but about how girls treat one another.

I wasn’t totally sure what to expect going into this book, but I really enjoyed what I got out of it. In some ways, I wish I had discovered it in high school, but this book still had me nearing a state of misty eyes. If you love contemporary YA, don’t miss this book.

Disclosure: I received copy of this book through Star Book Tours. However, I have every intention of purchasing a copy for my personal collection.

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