Book Review: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend 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 was on the fence about reading this book because I could not understand why you would sleep with someone you hated, even for a distraction. I wasn’t sure that I could get past that part of the novel and enjoy the rest of it, even if the rest of it was actually quite good.
I was wrong. I loved this book.
I loved Bianca. I didn’t understand her motivation (or, rather, I did in theory but couldn’t really understand it when she did it), but the writing was so strong that I didn’t really care. As the book went on, I found myself starting to understand her more, and I was absolutely rooting for her and Wesley. I couldn’t put the book down. I had to find out what happened with them. And Wesley – oh, what can I say about him? Yes, he’s a bit of a jerk in the beginning, but he grows and definitely becomes more likeable. I almost want a Wesley of my own.
The secondary characters were also developed nicely. I’ve seen too many books where the secondary characters were there for a purpose and didn’t really help drive the novel anywhere, but these secondary characters definitely did. I loved Bianca’s friends, who each had their own strengths and weaknesses. I liked that we got to see her interactions with her parents and understand exactly what it is that she’s running from.
There were only two things that stopped this book from getting a 10/10. The first thing was that I didn’t really understand the whole distraction thing at first. I can understand wanting a distraction, but I can’t understand why kissing a guy you hate would be the distraction you would choose. Obviously I eventually changed my mind about this, but it almost stopped me from reading the novel, so I felt I should mention it. The second negative had to do with Bianca’s father. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that I think things were resolved a little too nicely. Perhaps that really is realistic for some people, but it seemed unrealistic from what I know about the subject. Again, not a huge issue, but I felt I should mention it.
Overall, though, this book was such a terrific read. I may have had my misgivings at first, but I’m so glad I decided to give this book a try. I will definitely be picking up more of Kody Keplinger’s books in the future.