The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Release Date: June 7th 2011
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Age Group: Young Adult
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’ might not have completely blown me away but Keplinger sure as heck did a darn good job conveying realistic teens. MC, Bianca sometimes(well maybe most of the time)drove me up the wall with her overall negativity; she couldn’t take a compliment, totally insecure from the beginning. She never danced with her friends. She was safe. Everything she did up until she met Wesley was safe/comfortable. All that definitely made her a more realistic teen, the insecurities and confusion. Who hasn't felt that way before?
Although Bianca had her moments, she had her reasons to feel the way she felt: for one the ex-BF issue who basically used her and thrown her to his lioness girlfriend when she found out he was cheating (and he still couldn’t apologized in person, what a jerk)- I can imagine the whole experience being totally traumatic for a naïve 14 year old. And Second ‘The Duff’ name calling, which Wesley so nicely introduced to her. Throughout the whole novel I couldn’t help but feel like she was making things worse. Maybe a lot of Bianca’s problems would have been solved earlier if she’d shared what she was feeling. Like ‘hey Casanova don’t call me the Duff’ or ‘Hey Dad, don’t drink, you go crazy when you drink.’ I know some of these things are easier said than done but Bianca and her father have a good relationship she could have talked to him or called her mother and told her what was going on. Towards the end she becomes so confident and grows. I was so proud of her for finally facing reality and sharing how she feels, because clearing everything was not always ‘fine.’ I’m so glad Bianca had awesome friends, Casey and Jessica, who really care about her and helped her at her lowest points, even though she pushed them away in the beginning.
Wesley Rush aka Inconsiderate Casanova. Did a complete 180 and changed my overall prospective of him. He actually gave Bianca good advice! Their relationship from the beginning was not healthy but now it’s totally different. They help each other out and make each other better (I know cheesy thing to say but hey.) I like them together now, I could totally see why Bianca chose Wesley over Toby: they have that passion. In the end Wesley took the risks necessary to keep her.
UPDATE: I haven’t really mentioned that there is sex is this book. When I was 16 I picked up my first J.R Ward book which pretty much gave birth to a future book blogger, so now I’ve down the PNR genre and … on to YA books, sex really hasn’t been addressed as realistically as it should. I mean, there’s a show on MTV called Teen Mom. In ‘The Duff’ I like that sex is not overly descriptive or anything, but that K let us know it was there. I’ve never met teens who were as comfortable with their sexuality as Wesley & Bianca, it was interesting to see. When Bianca first ‘hooked up’ with Wesley I thought what a hypocrite! You say sex is an important beautiful thing but there you are all over someone you barely know. Whereas Wesley say’s its natural part of human nature. In the end these two characters really care for each other and it shows. Keplinger goes over the importance of sex though her characters and does it well, brilliantly!
Overall I liked ‘The Duff’ and the message it sent: words are as strong as you make them. Everyone has felt like Bianca at some point in their lives. That’s what makes this novel a keeper! The message is priceless!