The Duff By Kody Keplinger
Published Sept 7th 2010 by Little Brown/Poppy
Summary: 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.
Review: I’m so glad I finally picked this up after almost two years of putting it off. I read The Duff as part of The Chick Lits book club on goodreads and this was their choice for December. The Duff is one of those books that’s not overly-hyped about but at the same time it’s one of the popular picks.
I really enjoyed The Duff. I must say I was surprised that I would enjoy this so much. I had some problems with the book at the start, but the more I put it down the more I desperately wanted to know what happened to them.
What I really liked about The Duff was how relatable and real it was. I enjoyed the characters a lot, they were somewhat typical yet also very refreshing. Bianca is a pessimist and in her own way a realist. She doesn’t believe in instant love (rather believing that it takes years for you to truly understand what love is) and is an intelligent young woman.
I really grew to like Bianca and Wesley’s relationship. It was formed in a manner that was questionable and unfathomable to me, but I ended up rooting for them both. I enjoyed that they went into this as “friends with benefits” and later genuinely becoming friends. The manner in which their relationship developed was realistic and that is what I liked about it most.
I have my own dislikes with this book. I didn’t understand why Bianca would choose to use Wesley as a form of escape. In the beginning it made no sense that she would choose to kiss a guy that she really hated. I later understood that this was a play on The Scarlet Letter, where Bianca would be promiscuous as a way to distract herself from her problems.
I don’t necessarily understand why she had to distract herself considering she had two best friends, one of which she’s known her entire life. Her own best friend had family issues. It was portrayed that she had such a great relationship with her friends that she could have easily confided in them. Instead she used Wesley for sexual gains because she couldn’t tell her friends that she was the group’s ‘duff’. I can’t entirely wrap my mind around Bianca’s “issues” (namely her inability to confide in her best friends) over the fact that she might be somewhat self-conscious of being ‘the duff’. I had expected that at least the problems she was having with her family would be shared with her friends before anyone else.
The Duff was an overall great book and the good out-shined the bad. Though I had initial difficulties, I am glad I pushed on and ended up changing my perspective about Bianca and Wesley’s relationship.