The Duff : Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

9662548Book Synopsis:
Published June 7th 2011 by Poppy
277 pages | goodreads-badge-add-black-38px

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, a biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush, who calls Bianca the Duff–the designated ugly fat friend–of her crew.

But things aren’t so great at home and Bianca, desperate for a distraction, 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.

Book Review: 3_Stars7

Contemporary novels are not my thing. I seem to be unable to deal with relationship drama unless it is in a completely alternative world filled with characters out of fables. This is most likely so that I can just enjoy the story and not have to draw comparisons between the characters lives and my own…because who can really say that they can never kiss their true love on the threat that he would die?

In all honesty my only reason for picking up The Duff is because I have been religiously replaying the trailer for the upcoming movie. Which, let me just say, those 2min that give you an insight into the story do not resemble the actually novel in any regard. Okay well maybe the use of ‘ the duff’ and the characters names, but from the looks of things I believe the movie is going to be a well embellished production…and this doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy The Duff, but I didn’t love it.

I thought Keplinger really struck gold with such a unique voice as Biancas. Yes, it did wane slightly as the novel progressed but she is snarky and cynical (I can relate) so I found her bloody entertaining.  Also she loves James McAvoy…always a positive in my books. Wesley on the other hand was really hard to read. It took me a while to realise that he was actually being brutally honest in a way that he didn’t care how others perceived him. Originally I thought he was just a gigantic prick, but I can admire a guy who doesn’t ever pretend to be anything that he isn’t.

The novel revolves around their relationship, with Bianca sleeping with Wesley in order to distract herself from her crumbling home life. Wesley is completely okay with this, him being a bit of a promiscuous teenager himself.

Wesley was grinning at me when I spun around to face him.
‘I just wanted to let you know that if you plan on dropping by tonight, I might be a little busy. With
it being the day of love, I have a pretty full schedule.’
Now he sounded like a professional man-whore.
The Duff | Kody Keplinger

What Keplinger tried to do with this novel I think is admirable. Do I think it was done expertly, well no. At times it read as being too overly ambitious in sending the message about slut-shaming and letting a label define you.

Slut, bitch, prude, tease, ditz. They were all the same. Every girl felt like one of these
sexist labels described to her at some point.
The Duff | Kody Keplinger

This accompanied with a teenager who has to act as a mediator between her two parents who are getting a divorce where one parent breaks his sobriety and the other has ignored their family for months…it’s asking a bit much. I just felt as though there wasn’t enough pages to really deal with all of the issues presented in the book, there wasn’t enough time to flush out the situations and to make the reader be fully invested in them. In my opinion this definitely took away from the severity of some of these issues. When these issues are then shadowed by a romance with teenagers trying to act like adults…I just couldn’t deal. Especially when a fourteen year old girl lost her virginity to an eighteen year old guy. Maybe the law isn’t the same in all countries, but here we use the ‘R’ word in such situations. And this ISSUE wasn’t even mentioned.

Putting the seriousness aside I did enjoy the romance in this one. Wesley and Bianca had a really interesting dynamic which at times was written with strength and at others was too sappy for my liking.

First of all,’ I began, ‘I don’t love you. I love my family and maybe even Casey and Jessica,
but romantic love takes years upon years to develop. So I don’t love you. But
I will admit, I’ve thought a lot about you lately and I definitely have feelings for you…
feelings other than hatred for the most part.’
The Duff | Kody Keplinger

But I still think the movie will be better.



2 thoughts on “The Duff : Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

  1. I’m trying to read the book (after watching an advanced screening of the movie) and I really can’t slog my way through it. I’ve only read about 40 pages in, but I already feel like Bianca was portrayed in a much more likeable, relatable fashion in the movie (by Mae Whitman). It’s a pretty funny movie and I found myself laughing quite a bit! It seems more cliché than the novel, but I liked it better! If the book wasn’t your thing, I think you’ll like the movie 🙂

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