Title: The DUFF
Author: Kody Keplinger
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Poppy (Imprint of Little Brown)
Date Published: September 7th, 2010
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 DUFF, or “Designated Ugly Fat Friend” is about a girl named Bianca who, much to her surprise, is labeled by a particularly cocky guy named Wesley. After being called the Duff of her group of friends, she starts to wonder if maybe that’s true and begins looking at herself differently. But when her life brings on the drama, she finds herself turning to the very arse who called her that in the first place — maybe because he’s the one that’s there, or maybe because of something else.
When I first started this book I knew, just knew for sure, that I would not grow to like Wesley one single bit. What kind of guy deserves any such love that would so blatantly call you such a thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a female and I know other females and one thing that I’ve learned in my 27 years of being on this earth is that the one thing that is always consistent with every single woman I’ve ever met — we are all on some level insecure about ourselves. Those of us who have wavy hair wish it were straighter, those of us with straight hair wish it had more volume, and so on. We’re creatures of dissatisfaction. So it’s not much of a stretch to say that all of us have probably felt like the ugly one in the crowd, or the Duff, at one point or another — even if that’s not the case.
But the thing is that men and boys — like Wesley — just do not understand that insecurity, they’re just not programed the same way. So as the book progresses I found it harder and harder not to like Wesley. Yes, he can be an absolute prick at times. But it also becomes clear that Bianca needs someone who can keep her on her toes and allow her to be her snarky, sarcastic, and sometimes downrite pessimistic self. Like with most things people do, Wesley has his own reasons for being the womanizer he is and I think much to his own surprise, Bianca sparks something in him that he’s never been able to find before — something they both need from each other.
So this was definitely a very sweet and different kind of contemporary romance. The two start out absolutely despising each other and that passion turns into a connection that neither of them can run from. The DUFF is edgy, brutally honest, and I loved it from cover to cover. I also loved that the book actually has sex in it. Nothing too graphic, but I liked that the book was honest about the subject of teen sex rather than portraying all teens as angelic innocent virgins — because most of them, I’m sorry to say, are not. The only thing I would change? An epilogue or just one more chapter. We get a good, sweet ending, but I wanted just a tad bit more to finish it off.
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