Publish Date: September 7, 2010
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 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 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.
That’s pretty much how I feel after finishing The DUFF. When I’d gotten about 50 pages in, I really wasn’t sure that I’d like it. Yes, the synopsis warned me Bianca was cynical, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the level of cynicism her character contained. Turns out, I didn’t really need to worry. This turned out to be one of those awesome books that caused my heart to swell and make me all happy inside.
So, Bianca. Her bitter outlook on life really got to me sometimes. I could really see where she was coming from a lot of the time, though. For one, she’s only 17 trying to navigate life and we all know how big of a pain in the butt that can be sometimes. On top of that, she had problems at home.
At first I found it a little unnerving to be reading from the point of view of someone who was using sex as an escape tactic. After a while, though, I came to respect the fact that Keplinger would delve into an issue most people wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.
Then there’s Wesley. I wanted to hate him most of the time just like Bianca (he could be quite the jerk), but he was just so sweet sometimes! I’m still not entirely sure about my feelings for Wesley, but be assured that I was totally Team Bianca+Wesley.
That’s enough about characters, though. I really appreciated what Keplinger was willing to write about. She got right down to the nitty gritty (in this case, that would be sex) and didn’t let up. This means The DUFF probably isn’t for everyone, but if you can handle it, definitely give it a go. She also touches on issues like divorce and alcoholic parent/s.
The Nutshell: This really isn’t a very eloquent review, but in a way, I think that fits with The DUFF. Now, don’t take that the wrong way. This book isn’t bad, it’s simply…raw. Keplinger looks at a relationship and a person that most people would never write about. Honestly, Bianca’s not very likable, but that’s one of the reasons I ended up loving this book. If you’re up for a contemp that’s not so mushy-gushy, then this should definitely be your next read.
Rating: 4 stars