Title: The DUFF
Author: Kody Keplinger
Published: September 2010 by Little Brown
My Rating: 3 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic | Romance
Includes: Sexuality, Profanity, Brief Violence
First Lines: This was getting old. Once again, Casey and Jessica were making complete fools of themselves, shaking their asses like dancers in a rap video.
Bianca Piper is cynical, sarcastic, and snappy. One day while she's at a teen club with her two gorgeous best friends, the man-whore at her school sits down beside her. Wesley Rush. Just hearing his name makes Bianca's skin crawl. She hates him and is disgusted at the number of girls he's slept with. And to make matters worse, Wesley calls Bianca "The Duff", as in "Designated Ugly Fat Friend". His theory is that every group of girls has a Duff in it, to make themselves look better. Angry and hurt, Bianca reacts by throwing her soda in his face and storming out of the club. But the nickname continues to haunt her and slowly eats away at her self-esteem.
From page 12
Before crawling under my sheets, I took a glance at the full-length mirror across the room. I searched my reflection with new eyes, with new knowledge. Uncontrollable wavy auburn hair. A long nose. Big thighs. Small boobs. Yep. Definitely Duff material. How had I not known?
Bianca's home life is starting to crumble, too. Her mom, who is always traveling for work, is never home and it isn't soon that she files a divorce with Bianca's dad. Struggling for anything to take her mind off of her crappy home problems, Bianca does the unthinkable: she kisses Wesley. And then she starts sleeping with him. A whole lot. This is where the story started to unwind a little bit, in my opinion. First of all, Bianca literally can't stand Wesley and hates his guts. I'm trying to imagine myself in her shoes, and I would never come up with the idea of hate sex in order to run from my problems. Second of all, it isn't just a one time deal. Bianca starts sleeping with Wesley fives times a week! This is a bit ridiculous, especially for a girl who has only had one other boyfriend, when she was 14. The idea of sex to escape your problems and numb your mind was a new concept for me, and took some time getting used to. I definitely urge only mature readers to read this book because of the many sexual scenes and the crazy amount of profanity. Maybe it's just because I personally am against profanity, but I think the vulgar was out of control and could be taken down a notch because it was distracting and ugly.
I liked the diverse characters in the novel. The author developed them well and they weren't shallow or hollow. Each person played a part in the story, even the minor ones didn't feel like they were just fillers. There was also good emotion carried out in the book. I believed Bianca's feelings and they felt genuine. Bianca's character was pretty interesting: she was tough and ballsy on the outside, but a little gooey in the inside. She had depth to her and seemed like a very realistic teenager. Wesley, I grew to love. Sure he's a man-slut and will flirt with anything that has boobs, but eventually once you get to know him, he's pretty sweet. The book as a whole was very predictable. I knew exactly what was going to happen after reading just a few chapters, yet it was still fun to watch it play out. I have strong pros and strong cons about this book so I'll just settle with three stars.
Cover Thoughts: It definitely catches your attention! I think the way the text is set up is interesting and unique. And I like how the model's eye shadow matches her bubble gum exactly.