The Duff by: Kody Keplinger

Book: The Duff (The Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
Author: Kody Keplinger
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Poppy
Date Published: September 7, 2010

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 “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that 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.

Why I read This Book:

Okay so I had been hearing like a super lot of buzz about this book, so on my last trip to TO I totally went on a hunt to see if I could fin an early release of the book (the weekend before it was out), and while it was in inventory it was not physically unpacked and therefore not findable.  The day of release I went to my local chain (yah we don’t have indie bookstores where I am from) and inquired as per its availability.  In but not unpacked.  Luckily the girl went and found it for me.  Awesome socks!!

Reaction/Review:

The thing with this book is that it is contemporary YA, as in none of that Paranormal sci-fi fantasy dystopia nonsense.  However, that made the book very very very real.  Very very much so like the high school experience I have survived and never ever wish to have to live through ever again.  It took me a while to get through the book because to be honest, it was like looking back in a mirror at that time in my life, and I really don’t like doing that.

However, if you are at that time in your life, this book might just be that lifesaver for you.  The idea of the Duff – all girls are the duff at some point. I came to that realization sort of vaguely in grade school, that I should stay friends with this one girl because it made me look cool in comparison, because normally I was the outcast who was forever picked on.  I know that sounds harsh of me, but I remember that day that realization occurred to me.  That friendship was an awkward one and ultimately did not last.  But anyways the book.  Lifesaver if you are at that point in time of your life were you need to know you aren’t the only one and that you will get through that whole sucky experience.

If however, you have survived it, I would skip this book as there is no real reason to go back and experience it again.

The writing was strong.  The voice of the story was strong and consistent.  I got why the pro-tag is kind of miserable and a skeptic.  But having to read that the whole time really dragged the book out for me.

Final Thoughts:

What it comes down to is this book wasn’t for me.  I can see the value in it, and appreciate the writing.  But I like my world a little shinier.  I read for escapism.  Unfortunately for me this book brought back too much reality for me.  My own luggage mind you, but because of it I kept this book at a distance from my heart and did not fall in love with it.  Would I recommend it to teens, absolutely.  They need this kind of book.  For adults, not so much.  Unless you forgot what high school was about and those raging hormones and you need a swift wake up call in order to relate to a teenage daughter –that is if you forget the entire experience.  For me I really don’t think that will happen.  But when I have a teenage daughter.  This book will definitely be one that finds it way on to her shelves.  My theoretically teenage daughter – yes.

Rating: I can’t really fairly rate this book.  From a personal standpoint and my own reaction to is 5/10 maybe 6/10.  From a standpoint of who this book might better relate to 7/10 maybe 8/10.

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