Title: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
Author: Kody Keplinger
Release Date: Sept 7, 2010 (hardcover)
Publisher: Little, Brown/Poppy
Overall: 4.5 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 "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.
I'm not going to lie, I jumped a bit with joy when I saw The DUFF in stores early! I've seen this book featured on so many blogs, from WoW posts to positive early reviews, that it had me excited for this book ages ago! So, of course, I bought a copy and quickly flipped it open as soon as I could. And you know what? The DUFF did not disappoint and once again, I was reminded why I'm such a sucker for teenage romance stories.
Bianca Piper had never even heard the term "the Duff" (designated ugly fat friend) before, but as soon as Wesley Rush, resident hottie and womanizer of her high school, calls her one, she instantly realizes that she is indeed the Duff- but not before serving a little bit of justice by throwing her Coke in his face. From that moment on, Bianca can't get that word out of her mind and she detests Wesley all the more.
But life is complicated and never easy. So when Bianca's home life begins to crumble, she seeks out a distraction- an escape- from her problems... and unexpectedly finds it in Wesley when she kisses him. And so begins a no-strings attached, secret 'relationship'... but soon Bianca realizes that Wesley also has his own problems and that they're more alike than they once thought. Worse still though, Bianca is realizing with dawning horror as she spends more and more time with Wesley that she might actually be falling for him.
Bianca is one strong, female lead who sticks up for her friends but most of all, herself. Sure, everyone can feel like the Duff, but I liked how even though Bianca constantly dwells on it, she still stays true to herself. She's also a cynic with a snarky attitude, and isn't afraid to speak her mind- which was certainly the case whenever she talked to Wesley. When she's not making out with him, she's pretty much insulting him. It was actually kind of funny to read these parts a lot of times but you could definitely see the chemistry between the pair. When Wesley said one of his 'player' lines, I would be half-rolling my eyes but also smile because I just couldn't help myself... he's such a flirt!
My only problem with the book was that the issues that popped up in both Bianca's and Wesley's life seemed to be solved a bit too easily. It could have been stretched out and explored a bit more, but I was still satisfied with the solutions that were implemented.
The DUFF would be definitely on those books that I'd have to recommend for older teens and adults. There is a lot more language than the norm and sex does happen on more than one occasion, so if these two things are a no-no for you, then perhaps The DUFF may not be your cup of tea- but again, I'm simply pointing these things out and it is up to your own discretion. The bright cover with a bubble-blowing girl may mislead you in that regard because The DUFF is actually a much more edgier read than it would suggest.
With that said, Kody Keplinger's novel, The DUFF, is a solid debut novel that is sure to make a splash once it hits stores. Fast-paced with honest story-telling, I couldn't bring myself to put this book down and was even sad when I reached the last few pages because it meant the story would come to an end. I'm already looking forward to reading what this teen author has in store for us next!
You can check out Kody Keplinger's website here.