Thursday, January 6, 2011

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Title: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: C

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 "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that 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.

This book made me think about some things. I'm still in high school so the things that were talked about could be applied to me and my group of friends. I've never really thought about being the DUFF or anything of that sort, but I have thought about being the least liked friend or getting left out, etc. After I finished the book I talked to my friends and they felt the same way. We thought it was funny that each of us felt like the DUFF.

The whole concept of the book is a little cliched. You know, the whole "I HATE him. Wellll he isn't so bad...actually I like him. I HATE him again." It was predictable. Also, a lot of Bianca's actions didn't align with the personality that she put forth. There was often no reasoning and Bianca, as a character, was mostly boring and desperate for attention. At first I liked her strong will and confident attitude. I could also appreciate that she was the "mature" friend. Later though, after she gives in to the DUFF concept and lets it tear her apart it was hard to like her. Why would she be with a guy that made her feel that bad? It just annoyed me.

The best part of the book was probably Bianca's relationship with her parents. Most of the time it took a back seat to Wesley, but when it came out, it sucked me right back into the book. Most teens can relate to parent issues including divorce which made the book a lot more readable. It was great to see their relationship evolve.

Another thing that I really liked was Bianca's sarcastic and witty comments to Wesley. Those random moments where she would grow a back bone and stick up for herself. And made me proud.

Overall Bianca wasn't a completely horrible character and the plot was a bit interesting and fun. The characters on the side lines also got their time to shine.

Book received free from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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