Kody Keplinger The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
277 pp. Poppy/ Little, Brown and Company. 2010 ISBN: 978-0-316-08423-9
(From the publisher) “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. LOVE. This. Book!! Yes, some people may not be able to handle Bianca and all of her sarcasm and cynicism, but considering one of my best friends in high school could have been her twin, I totally understand her. Bianca sure is angry at the world, but with everything that’s going on in her life, I don’t blame her for being a little “snarky.”
When Wesley first referred to Bianca as a DUFF I was utterly shocked. He disgusted me and I wanted to punch him for Bianca; I completely understood her hate for him. After that, who cares if he’s a charming hottie?! But with all the frustrations dominating Bianca’s life, and as much as she wants to think “she’s fine,” she ends up making out with him during their next encounter to relieve some stress. Once this “enemies-with-benefits” thing starts, I was concerned about Bianca. Starting a physical relationship without strings attached isn’t a healthy outlet. But Bianca, along with all the girls that will and should read this, discover the consequences and other ways to handle stress. On the lighter side, I really enjoyed Bianca and Wesley’s banter. Bianca isn’t afraid to be herself around him, cynicism and everything.
Young adult novels almost always include the main character’s best friend(s), but it’s rare to see something as true-to-life as Bianca’s friendship with Casey and Jessica. The dynamics of their friendship is dead on– the jokes and conflicts, for example. They genuinely care about each other and look out for one another.
I truly hope teenage girls read this novel. There is so much to be learned about self-esteem and the perception of yourself and others. Once Wesley calls Bianca a DUFF, that’s all she can think about. But doesn’t everyone feel like the ugly friend once in a while? Despite Bianca feeling this way, all I focused on was how smart and dynamic she is. She notices things about the people around her that most miss or ignore completely. Then there’s Wesley, he’s the popular rich guy who has it all. But as Bianca spends more and more time with him, she learns that maybe his life isn’t so perfect after all.
The DUFF is one of the best books I’ve read, and I absolutely can’t wait to read another novel by Kody Keplinger. I’m even more impressed by this novel after learning that Keplinger is only 18 years old!! Talk about impressive! Once I started reading this, I couldn’t put it down even though I had a stack of papers to grade. In fact, I was sad when I finished because I wanted to keep reading :) Congratulations on a job well-done, Ms. Keplinger!