AUTHOR Kody Keplinger
PUBLICATION September 7, 2011 by Poppy
READ August 5 - 6, 2012
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.
The Duff is a very strange beast for me. I easily devoured it in two quick sittings and it was enjoyable as I was engrossed in the story and enjoyed the snarky tone of it. But that's about all the nice things I have to say about it. This is most definitely not a story I would ever want my teenage daughter to read, sure there is the moment of earth shattering realization in the end in which we get out moral of the story. But no. JUST NO.
Bianca is a straight A student in high school with some great, close friends. Casey and Jessica were great, supportive characters and I loved the friendship that the girls had. I felt that was very realistic in the way that they were so open and sarcastic with one another. It really reminded me of the types of friendships I had and still do have in my life. My problem with the three best friends was Bianca. She is supposed to be this intelligent girl, yet all she does throughout the novel is make blatantly terrible decisions. She sees that her father is taking the divorce hard and is relapsing after 18 years of sobriety, does she do anything about it? No, she cleans up his messes for him and helps him hide it. Then there is the issue that grated on me the most throughout the novel, her and Wesley's relationship. Come on Bianca, Wesley is the guy who created the term DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend.) He came up to you at the Nest one night and attempted to carry on a conversation with you under this pretense:
"The point is, scientists have proven that every group of friends has a weak link. a Duff. And girls respond well to guys who associate with their Duffs."-page 6
He didn't even try to hide the fact that he was a complete douche bag, he just came right out with it, laid it all on the table. He only wanted to talk to Bianca because she was the Duff in her group of hot friends, and if the hot friends saw him associating with their Duff they would be all over him. Yes, I completely stood behind Bianca's first knee-jerk reaction of throwing her cherry coke on him but I just can't grasp where the story went from there. They began to have a tryst of sorts, Bianca needed an escape from her life so they started sleeping together on the down-low. Now ok, maybe he was hot and really good in bed and he made her melt into putty in his hands, but I cannot deal with the fact that the whole time he called her Duffy, like it was some term of endearment. No. Just no. No intelligent girl would EVER be OK with that. NEVER.
So why I ask, could I not put this book down? I'll say that it is probably due to the fast pace and easy flow of the story. Everything felt like it was happening in quick succession and while I didn't really like everything that was going on, there is no denying that I was entertained by the series of events. In the end I hadn't really bought into Wesley being a sweet guy all that much and Toby Tucker (the guy Bianca had been crushing on for years) was annoyingly perfect and a very flat character. Like pancake flat. There was no substance there at all.
There is no denying that Kody Keplinger knows how to put together a great teen, coming of age story filled with witty, realistic dialogue. After reading A Midsummer's Nightmare and loving it I was quick to run out and grab this one, but it just didn't hit the mark for me. There was so much wrong with it in my eyes that I found myself being annoyed through the majority of it.