Review: THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Posted 17 August, 2010 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 6 Comments

Final Grade: 87/B
288 pages
Review ARC through We Love YA book tours
Rated R
Available now
BLURB: 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.

REVIEW: This book certainly opened with a bang–Bianca’s sitting at a bar in a teen club, waiting for her two friends to stop dancing when the school’s “man-slut” Wesley tries to chat her up. Bianca’s having none of it, especially considering she knows how he operates. And then he calls her The Duff, explaining it means the “Designated Ugly, Fat Friend”. Bianca tosses a drink in his face and drives her friends home.

The relationship between the characters really made this book so realistic and such an interesting read. I loved how the girls all looked out for one another and how snarky Bianca was about Wesley–even after she kisses him (and more. Much more.). There was even some good parental interaction, which you don’t always see in YA (parents tend to be absent parents in YA more often than not). And Bianca’s problems at home, with her mom and dad, are what lead her to turn to Wesley for comfort.

I wasn’t so sure about the Wesley-Bianca relationship. I mean, once for whatever reason (in Bianca’s case, she needed the comfort of being wanted and to erase her home stress), I guess I can understand it. But again and again and again? Okay, I can see Wesley letting it go on with no need for an explanation. He’s a stereotypical guy (at least, at first) who just wants to get some action. But Bianca? She seemed to be too smart and self-confident to do that to herself. However, without going into too much detail, I did like how Bianca and Wesley’s relationship continued to develop (sex aside).

All in all, a well-constructed story–very enjoyable.

AUTHOR BIO: “I always felt like the ‘ugly girl’ in high school, so when I was introduced to the word during my senior year, I knew I was the Duff. The idea of writing a book with DUFF as the title started as a joke, but when I realized that my friends felt like Duffs, too, I knew I had to write this story.”Kody Keplinger on her inspiration for The DUFF, her debut novel. Kody is now eighteen and attending Ithaca College in New York where she’s majoring in writing and finishing her second novel to be published by Poppy in Fall 2011.

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6 Responses to “Review: THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger”

  1. I can’t wait to read this book. It sounds so palpable, so real, and I love that it was written by a teenager. Thanks for the review!

  2. Fabulous review! This sounds like such an honest book, filled with honest emotions. Love it. I’ve got to find this book!

  3. I’ve been excited about this one, especially since the author is so young! I’m interested to see what I think of it. I have heard complaints about the Wesley-Bianca relationship in other reviews though, so I’m not expecting that part of the book to be all that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!