20 July 2011

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

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.

I freaking loved reading this book.  The main character, Bianca, was fantastically written!  This book wouldn't have been half as enjoyable if it were told from the point of view of anyone with less nerve.  Her interactions with Wesley, her family and friends really gave her a gold star in my book.  The other characters were very well written and the story was told with a unique, character-driven style.  Absolutely loved it.

Eight pages in and I was in love.  I knew right away that I would really like Bianca's character, so I just listened to her story and it kept me engaged with the other characters.  Her cynicism may come off as annoying to some people, but for me it really clicked.  I found myself laughing out loud at her narrative, decorated though it was with some colorful language.

Her story was great. I really liked Wesley, though I didn't get such an engaging, in depth interest in him.  I loved the dynamic between Wesley and Bianca.  Their drama was nicely balanced with Bianca's issues with friends and family.  It was a fascinating idea brilliantly executed.

In retrospect, Wesley and Bianca's relationship is pretty cliché, but I wasn't ever annoyed by it, nor did I ever want to put the book down.  Bianca kept everything alive and interesting by shutting down all the cliché pitfalls.  I started this book around noon and finished it right after dinner.  I wanted to find out what happened with these characters—I wanted to hear their story.

In some ways, Kody Keplinger's presentation of Bianca's story reminded me of Sarah Dessen.  The topic was wonderfully handled and I never felt like I was being preached to.  This is a book I'll be rereading for a while.

Book Info:

  • pages – paperback, 280
  • published – September 2010
  • publisher – Poppy, an Imprint of Little, Brown
  • genre – contemporary fiction
  • received via – Borders :)
  • rating – 5/5