Monday, July 30, 2012
Review: The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
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.
Publication Date: September 7, 2010
This was sort of a random read for me after I came across a review of the book on Goodreads. It sounded like an interesting concept to me-a girl using a guy she hates as an escape from a messed up home life. The book had some high points that I found enjoyable, but also a few things that bothered me long after I put the novel down.
I think the author did a fantastic job creating a believable friendship between Bianca, Jessica and Casey. The feelings of inadequacy and jealousy can be commonly found in a lot of high school friendships. It wasn't hard to imagine a friend upset when you've been single for a long time and are no longer available to spend time with her once you meet a guy. It was also touching how her friends insisted they were the Duffs of the friendship. The book was great at exploring issues such as self-esteem and typical sexual mores.
Bianca had some sass which I always like in my main characters. She was able to dish it out to Wesley and I'm glad she didn't cry her eyes out (like I probably would have done in high school) when the school hot shot calls her the Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend). Instead she tells him off and throws a soda at him. I was also able to sympathize with her as she tried to block out the divorce of her parents and her father's drinking problem.
Wesley was a maddening character. I wanted so bad to like him, but I just couldn't for so many reasons. I could've probably gotten past the initial Duff comment and root for their relationship, but he nicknames her Duffy, even after they started sleeping together! The poor little rich boy thing too didn't make me feel like it was okay for him to basically sleep his way through the entire school. I really didn't expect Bianca to sleep with him as quickly as she had and it made me want to give her a hug for having such low self-esteem to do so.
The ending was a little too neatly tied up. However, the book definitely kept me reading and I would check out other titles from Keplinger.
Rating: Four out of five stars