Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Poppy; 1 edition (September 7, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0316084239
ISBN-13: 978-0316084239

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.


Don't let the cover fool you, folks. All the yellow and pink cannot disguise the intensity that comes with every page turned in this fantastic, stomach-churning debut. With an extremely outspoken personality, Bianca Piper has a I-can-take-on-the-world-and-you-can't-stop-me attitude. With this powerful protagonist, it was amazing to get to know her world and the recent struggles and challenges she's facing, or really running from. I wish I could have been in Bianca's world just to get to know the infamous womanizer that roams the Hamilton High halls, Wesley. The most common thing known everywhere is what links these two together the most: the world isn't perfect, and neither is its people. Everyday we're given obstacles to face, it is our choice to either face them head on or run away. This intricate storyline combines that main theme into practically every single troublesome dilemma Bianca must face, but with Keplinger as the author, it was incredibly gripping.

Fight or flight? Which would you choose? Divorce on a kid of any age is tragic and difficult, but not for "Duffy" when she's got the most excellent distraction to take all her thoughts away. Through the course of their relationship some dilemmas do get solved, but in the end, Bianca was left with the most heart-wrenching one of all. Can she really find "love" again?

The DUFF is a very invigorating novel; stimulating, too. The particularly steaming scenes between Bianca and Wesley were quite a bit of a shock at first. Who know YA could have something so spine-tingling? I'm not saying The DUFF is the only one out there, but I'm glad that Keplinger took the plunge in her first published novel. To be completely honest, I loved those scenes. They really just added to the overall effect that the novel has on you when you read through Bianca's eyes and the reasons she does what she does.

The supporting characters in this novel had extremely delicate backgrounds that were in-depth and touching to say the least. They all transformed in one way or another; some more severely than others. It just humanized them to the extent that was appropriate for the relatability of Bianca's life.

I recommend The DUFF to mature teen girls, and even some teen guys that will enjoy reading some parts more favorably. Older readers will appreciate the realism in the circumstances detailed that conflict internally and solved emotionally.

Grade: A-

This finished copy of The DUFF was provided by Hachette Book Group for my uninfluenced review.