Title: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
Author: Kody Keplinger
Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult
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.
Source: School library
How I Found Out About It: Goodreads
After reading and really enjoying Run by Kody Keplinger, I made the decision to pick up more of her books. When I came across The DUFF at my school’s library, I excitedly borrowed it, knowing how amazingly Keplinger writes and how many people have raved about it.
Because this was Keplinger’s debut novel, it is understandable that I enjoyed Run a lot more. I mean, I enjoyed this one for sure, but it is no different from many other contemporaries I read about high school.
The DUFF basically revolves around a high schooler named Bianca. There is a popular guy at school named Wesley whom, as an unpopular opinion, she hates, especially after him calling her the DUFF. But one day when she isn’t thinking, she kisses Wesley, and surprisingly likes it. So, she is thus thrown into a sticky situation- does she still hate him? Or is she actually falling for him?
Bianca. What to say about her? I honestly didn’t love her character. Being much more outgoing and outspoken than me, she was quite difficult to relate to, and for this reason, I also found it hard to like her. Bianca held a lot of grudges and judged many people, and people like that just don’t fly very far with me.
The romance aspect was also another thing that didn’t completely work out for me. I felt as if there was no chemistry between Bianca and Wesley; it just felt forced. Also, this isn’t covered in the Goodreads synopsis, but there IS a second guy, resulting in an *annoying* love triangle. As I write this review, I can’t for the life of me remember the other guy’s name, but what I do remember is that I shipped him with Bianca much more.
The plot of this story was moderately paced; being slow at first but then picking up speed at around the 100-page mark. I was amused at times, but sometimes bored as well. As I said before, this really isn’t the most unique YA book out there, and you’ve got to admit how predictable that ending was!
Overall, The DUFF was a good book with great morals about being proud of who you are and not letting haters get you down, but in my eyes, it simply fit into the sea of, dare I say it, “normal” YA books. I’d definitely still pick up more from Kody Keplinger, but I probably wouldn’t feel the urge to reread this one in the future. I know that this book would be a great start for those who are new to the contemporary genre, but if not, maybe skip it. You can find many more unique, thought-provoking stories.