Title: The Duff
Author: Kody Keplinger
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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. (via Goodreads)
I first heard about this book from the trailer for the movie – which I have not seen yet – and thought it looked interesting enough to read. It wasn’t until I discovered that the author is going to be at Pasadena Loves YA in a couple of weeks that I finally decided to pick up a copy and read it.
I’ve been in a massive book slump since last year and haven’t been able to read as quickly and as many books as I did before, so this was a nice, fun, quick read that I finished in about five days. What was amusing to me was, not long after I started reading The Duff I immediately could relate to Bianca because our personalities are so similar. She’s sarcastic, witty, smart, and cynical, but is a loyal friend and selfless when it comes to protecting her loved ones. (I’m probably more of a misanthropist than she is though.) I loved her voice because it was so real and honest, and not to mention so funny.
She doesn’t care what people think of her, but when Wesley – the manwhore and womanizer of the school – calls her the “Duff” (designated ugly fat friend) in her group of friends, it does relentlessly bother her, much to her annoyance. But who can blame her? Wesley was so rude and just horrible in the beginning of the book, I cheered Bianca on when she threw her cherry coke at him. I couldn’t hate him too much though because I knew he was going to change once he got to know Bianca and fell for her. And, oh boy, did he fall for her. ***POSSIBLE SMALL SPOILER AHEAD*** My favorite scene definitely was the love letter. It was just SO romantic and adorable, and I just love how honest he was being with his feelings for her. I couldn’t help but feel as if I was Bianca reading that love letter. Oh and it was HANDWRITTEN. You can’t get much more romantic than that nowadays. ***END OF SPOILER*** At this point I already adored Wesley so much. He transformed from a total arrogant jackass to a sensitive, understanding guy that had me swooning over him.
Bianca also tries to hide her real feelings (romantic and non-romantic) quiet often – unless it’s a witty quip -, and has a tendency to run from her problems. I think I’m guilty of both of these, too. Probably the only thing that Bianca and I don’t have in common is our methods of stress relief or ways to escape our problems. She ran into Wesley’s arms and started an “enemies-with-benefits” relationship with him, while I prefer to escape into books, TV shows, movies, or even just go hiking, but the point is we both have a tendency to run from problems.
I’m envious of her relationship with her two best friends, too because even if she feels like the “Duff” of the group, later on her friends, Casey and Jessica, make it clear that they don’t consider her as such. I really love how strong their friendship is, and how they can talk things through and be completely honest without judging one another. There were times in the past when I’ve felt like the “Duff” so I really sympathized with Bianca, but when her cheerleader friend Casey told her that she feels like the “Duff”, I, like Bianca, realized that most girls – if not all – feel like the “Duff” at at least one point in their lives.
I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a fun, lighthearted, quick read with an interesting plot and even better characters.