Thursday, November 18, 2010

[Review] The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Title: The DUFF
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publication: 7th October 2010 (US)
Publisher: Poppy (Imprint of Hachette, Little Brown)
Review Copy: HB, Bought
Pages: 280
Series: Standalone
My Rating:

Blurb (From GR):
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.
My thoughts: 

Sex. Swearing. If any of those two words make you squirm in your seat there's a chance The DUFF won't be for you. Kody Keplinger tells it like it is, the true beauty that is contemporary YA fiction. The DUFF is raw and inspiring and packs a damn powerful punch. I knew what I was getting into when I read the synopsis, when I saw the cover, when I read the reviews, when I bought my own copy, when I cracked open the book for the first time and just read. Did The DUFF live up to my expectations? No. It was even better. (cue cheesy music phrase here)

Bianca Piper is a strong, independent girl who, one night when "out" with her friends (they're partying down while she's chatting with the barkeep), is called "The DUFF" (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by the "hottest" guy in the school, womaniser Wesley Rush. The womanising playboy he is, he's chatting to her in hopes of getting freaky with one of her best friends. Disgusted, what more does she do than this:
With one swift motion I jumped to my feet and flung the contents of my glass in Wesley's direction. Cherry Coke flew all over him, splattering his expensive-looking white polo. Drops of dark red liquid glistened on his cheeks and coloured his brown hair. His face glowed with anger, and his chiseled jaw clinched fiercely. (p.7)
Yes, this girl is gutsy, and prefers to stand away from the crowd. After being deemed worthy of the DUFF status, what does she do next time she sees Mr Dreamy? She kisses him--which instigates the complex relationship that transpires between the two. Kody Keplinger has delivered a story that explores the inner psyche of teenage life: Everyone has felt like the DUFF and Distractions in hopes of running away catches up with you.

The story just plays out so nicely, though nice is definitely not the word that should be associated with The DUFF. I was pleased with all the side-plots, too.
Yes, there is swearing. However, in most cases, the swearing works so well. Without it, I'm sure Bianca's voice wouldn't be so authentic. Plus, at seventeen-years-old, swearing is heard on a daily basis. Hats off to Keplinger for creating such a realistic portrayal of teen life.

The characters are unique and developed thoroughly, given its rather short length. While I didn't feel I could relate to any one character on a personal level, Kody gave me reason to care about them. Even Wesley, who is presented as a complete jerk in the beginning, became someone I could sympathise with.

Cover: Bold and bright, The DUFF makes its presence heard, loud and proud. Pink and yellow has never looked so good together, and the letters DUFF sprawled diagonally across the front . . . extremely effective. The model is so Bianca. The cover is one of the main factors why I became obsessed with obtaining a copy.

Conclusion: The DUFF rocked my world. It's one of those books that I just couldn't put down until I was done, and so few of them can successfully do that, considering my short attention-span.

Live in Australia?
Fishpond | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository

I am in no way affiliated with the above sites, nor with Keplinger or the publisher. I do not receive any money for reviewing or linking.

Other Reviews:

The Story Siren | Persnickety Snark | Pure Imagination | The Hiding Spot


Kody Keplinger's Blog
Kody's Twitter

Learn more about The DUFF and read more reviews at Goodreads

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