Light, breezy and so much fun
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books,
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 25th Febuary, 2015
Having spotted The DUFF on many of my friends’ time lines and Twitter feed, I grabbed this book straight away from NetGalley as soon as it came up. After quickly reading the blurb and finding out that a movie adaptation was releasing soon, nothing was going to stop me from reading it straight away.
Bianca is a Duff. Designated Ugly Fat Friend. On a night out with her gorgeous friends, Bianca is given this snippet of information by the school’s man whore, Wesley. Bianca reacts like any self-respecting girl and splashes her coke on Wesley. But his words don’t leave her. He laid open Bianca’s insecurities (probably every teen girl’s) and fear about her body and social standing. Add her parents’ divorce, Bianca is soon in a path of self-destruction. She wants a distraction and in a moment of madness goes and kisses Wesley. Before she knows it, kisses lead to more and now Bianca needs the kind of distraction that only Wesley can provide and avoiding her parents, her problems and her friends.
I loved The DUFF. I was written by a teenager for teenagers. I adored Bianca and her narration was spot on. Some reader may think that Bianca makes proper decisions and that it is out of character to go off the rails. But in my opinion it was just the right kind of reaction from someone like her. Escapism is the best solution she could come up with and it helped her cope with her issues and that sat fine with me. Bianca was sensible, clever, witty,cynical, loyal,complete with all the teenage understanding of the world which made me able to relate so well her. I’ve been known to indulge in a spot of escapism from time to time (obviously not the way Bianca goes about it with a man) myself too.
She had such lovely friends around her who loved and cared about her. They were genuinely concerned about her and were there for her every time. There was a bit of slut shaming which may not sit well with some but it is a teen book set at high school so it is not surprising.
I really enjoyed her relationship development with Wesley. It started as a fling and I may also warn that this book should be for slightly older teens as it has swearing and teen sex but nothing too graphic. While Wesley may have called Bianca a Duff but she stopped being a Duff for him a long time ago. While he kept calling her Duff it was with affection. As a reader I could see how she stopped being a Duff to him and started being something more. Wesley had deeper issues and that is why they were able to connect so well. I really enjoyed Bianca’s disgust at him and it reminded me of my teen years when I nursed disdained and disgust for high school boys.
Even more the message at the end about how everyone is a duff at some point in their lives was insightful and was a lesson for our sensible heroine.
The DUFF was a light, quick and easy read which was full of insights for any teenager. I really enjoyed the romance and the working of the inner minds of teenagers. The writing had a sense of addictiveness to it making it hard to put down. I just had to know what will happen next and Bianca’s and Wesley’s romance gave me butterflies. Such a shame that the movie has completely changed the relationships and story and turned it into a teen makeover movie.
I don’t think I’ll watch the movie as the atrocious trailer shocked me enough with the changed story line and ‘clean teen’ image. The DUFF will remain fond memory for me as not only was it heart-warming but also took readers back to their teen self. Definitely a book worth reading.
Review copy provided by Hachette Children’s Books, via NetGalley