Monday, December 2, 2013

Book Review: The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Release Date: September 7, 2010
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Age group: YA
Pages: 280
Buy the book: Amazon - The Book Depository

Description (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:
My expectations for this book were pretty high due to the fact that it has been on my TBR pile since it was published and it seems that everyone I trust when it comes to book recommendations have at least liked it, if not even loved it. I have not read that many contemporaries this year to be honest, but I am happy I finally picked this one up because it really made me want to read more of books of its type.
It was so incredibly easy to identify with Bianca. I guess I never really shared that much with people in my "group" in high school - I hated parties, I hated all the guys that I had to go to school with and I just couldn't get excited over the same things they did. The only thing we shared was the school stuff and now that high school is over, there really isn't anything that still connects me to them. Bianca has a couple of good friends, but she has always felt like she is somewhat the outsider. When the school douche Wesley calls her The Duff, the designated ugly fat friend of her group, she starts to feel even more conscious about her position in her group of friends. 
Bianca is also extremely cynical and sarcastic, which I loved, because that is also so me in some sense. I am extremely pessimistic and always think of the "worst possible" solution for different things and events. I know that drives people crazy sometimes. So does Bianca. She is also a bit of a control freak, which was something I was able to identify with as well. Bianca might seem like a bitch sometimes, but there are things going on in her life she is not ready to talk about with anyone. She is not the touchy-feely sharing type her friends are. And I loved that about her.
At the beginning I felt like Wesley was a total ass. But I guess that was the point. He is handsome and funny, but also over confident which drives me crazy in guys. Confidence is a good thing, but I think you never should be too sure of yourself. But as Bianca and Wesley spend time together they start to notice that they actually have a lot of similarities. But can Bianca ever forgive the guy who labeled her as The Duff? 
I really enjoyed Keplinger's writing style. It is not anything super special, but it is easy to follow and the characters she creates are funny and you really start to feel for them, especially for Bianca and Wesley. Bianca might be almost unlikable at points (I think this was also due to the fact that sometimes I was able to identify with her TOO MUCH and felt like a complete bitch myself as well) but she really grows as a person throughout the story and realizes that sometimes good things can happen to a person who never expects them to happen. Her family situation adds another level to the story making it not only a book about high school problems, but also about how problems at home shape you as a person. 
The Duff is not one of those super fluffy everything is perfect -type of contemporary reads. It might make you feel uncomfortable because of the fact that Bianca uses people to feel better. There is also sex, so if that usually makes you squeamish, maybe this is not the best one for you. The characters are not perfect and they make bad decisions and decisions that only benefit themselves - that might make them unlikable, but at the same time they make them extremely realistic. Like Bianca realizes, no one us are perfect. 
The Duff is a quick, funny read despite the issues that it deals with. There is no instalove, which I know a lot of readers hate, and the relationships that take place might not be the most loving ones, at least not at the beginning. But if you are looking for something a bit different to read, the Duff is definitely a potential pick. 

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