Book Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Book: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Published: Little Brown/ Poppy, 2010
Genre: YA Fiction
Pages:  288 pages
Where I got it: got an e-book copy for my Nook
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): 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 “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out 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.

My thoughts: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) is a story about self esteem during the teenage years. If you talk to pretty much any young girl with a group of girlfriends, you'll find out that she has felt like the duff at one time or other. When Bianca Piper meets the hot, womanizing Wesley Rush, it's clear he's only after one thing. He is looking to score with Bianca's good looking friends and chatting up the duff is a good way to score brownie points with her friends. He introduces the term "the Duff" to her and continues to address her as such throughout the book. Bianca is a smart girl who doesn't fall for guys like Wesley. When her family life starts to go downhill, Bianca finds that kissing him is the perfect distraction from her troubles. Eventually she finds herself starting to care about Wesley and getting jealous of the other girls he's seeing. The DUFF was a fun, quick read for me (I read it in just a few hours), although a little predictable at times.

The DUFF had it's depressing moments, like when Bianca would get down on herself for the way Wesley was calling her the duff (although he usually didn't treat her like he thought of her that way). It was sad to read about the developing troubles with her parents. I liked Bianca even though I felt like I probably shouldn't. She was a promiscuous hypocrite when it came to Wesley and was kind of the downer of her group of friends, but her snarky attitude was what won me over. Her two best friends were polar opposites of her, both peppy and popular. I could not stand Bianca's crush, Toby Tucker, and thought there were certain parts of their brief relationship that were odd. He didn't seem like her type at all, other than them both being smart kids who don't typically follow the trends that the other students do. I was rooting for Bianca and Wesley in the end and I'm happy with the outcome of the story.

I was amazed to find out that Kody Keplinger wrote this book when she was a senior in high school. I think that her characterizations of high school students were pretty spot on, so I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised. She's definitely a young, new author to watch. I'm looking forward to reading her next effort.

My rating: 4 stars 

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