I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Published by Hachette Digital, Inc. on 2010-09-07
Genres: Dating & Sex, Girls & Women, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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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.
The premise of The Duff by Kody Keplinger is that Bianca is the DUFF of her circle of friends according to Wesley, this guy she meets in a teen club. DUFF meaning designated ugly fat friend. Interwoven throughout the novel are issues Bianca must deal with such as self-esteem, weight, alcoholism, and expression of sexuality.
I didn’t like the writing style of The DUFF at first. Mainly because an action would occur, then it would be explained. I.e. Bianca stabbed Wesley with a pen. She was angry. She was enraged. Perhaps my tastes have evolved, so this is not really my sort of thing. Maybe, I just prefer to be trusted to understand what is going on.
Unfortunately, Bianca spends much of the book pissed off. She’s jealous of skinny girls. If she sees a certain guy talking to a skinny girl, I noticed she’d call the girl names. Then she wants to ‘kill’ Wesley. Then she’s pissed at her mom. She’s very hot and cold which does irritate me. I guess I’m past those teenage hormones.
However, certain elements of The DUFF by Kody Keplinger trumped my distaste. I emotionally connected with The DUFF. I read this on the bus back from BEA and I had to dart my eyes around to make sure no one could see me getting misty-eyed. I’ll admit, certain scenes felt real and like such, were an emotional punch in the gut.
I loved that despite the sexual choices Bianca made, there was no slut shaming. She was never punished for getting her love on. Rather, it was a conscious decision and she seemed quite in control of her actions.
Clearly, this is upper YA as there are lots and lots of swears and sexying. I didn’t love it, but maybe you will, so ….