Thursday, October 14, 2010

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
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.
Review:

From the reviews I saw prior to reading The DUFF, 18-year-old Kody Keplinger's much talked about debut, I gathered one thing: You either loved this book or you disliked it, sometimes even to the extreme. I personally fall somewhere in the middle of love and hate for this one. I mean, in some areas I really enjoyed it, but some parts left me not the least bit impressed. Though, before we get to that, let me tell you a bit more about The DUFF.

Bianca Piper's always been the cynical and witty one out of her group of friends, and in her opinion, the least pretty of her trio. And when Wesley Rush enters the picture, he confirms the worst of her fears; she is the least attractive of her friends or in his words, "The DUFF aka The Designated Ugly Fat Friend". This makes Bianca upset, so she throws her drink in his face and walks away, promising herself never to give Wesley the time of day ever again. Though, as it turns out fate has another plan for, as she finds out when she’s paired with Wesley for an English project, and soon enough begins a fling with him after her home life takes a drastic turn in the most anti-positive of ways. So, what will this girl do when she starts to realize she may just be falling in love with her school's biggest players? Will she run away or admit it to him? And what about Wesley- is he truly as bad as he looks? Only time will tell in this highly addicting teen debut!

I feel like there's a bit of Bianca Piper in any teen girl out there, so I found her to be a relatable teen protagonist.... though one that wasn't much of a role model in some areas. I really liked Bianca's humor and view of her high school, because I found it to be funny and her dialogue often similar to something I would say in real life. I also liked the way readers got to see the vulnerable side to Bianca, one that wondered how she fits into her picture perfect looking mother's life, as well of her friends, and whether or not she really is a DUFF. The thing I didn't like about her character was the promiscuity. I didn't like how easily she turned to sex when she was down and how she used it as a way to make herself feel better about her problems without really facing them head-on. And I especially didn't like how she never truly faced any emotional backlash from her way of dealing with things; it just wasn't all that realistic. I did enjoy Wesley's character though. I thought he was somewhat charming when he left his tough guy guise down, but there were other times where I was surprised at seeing how this guy, who was such a jerk in the beginning, could turn out to be such a nice guy by the end. It just was surprising and a bit unrealistic, in my opinion. Because most guys like Wesley aren't the least bit nice, in my experience.

The premise of this was kick-butt. I loved the idea of addressing DUFFs and the sexual parts of teen lives, though the execution wasn't as nearly as good as it could have been. It was fun and addicting, of course, to see what was going to happen between Wesley and Bianca. But the characters, as well as the overall story, were lacking an emotional edge, one that would have made the story much better if contained. Another thing I wasn't too found of was Keplinger's writing. It was decent and better than I expected, but just like the characters and plot, it just didn't dig deep enough and was often clich├ęd.

While from my review it may seem like I completely hated this one, I didn't. I just had a lot of problems with it. But it's still worth a read because it is funny, addiciting, and cute read; and I do admit, I like how Kody pushes the limit in some ways with this one. And the biggest question of all- Will I read more by Kody? Yeah, because even though I'm disappinted by the lack of emotinal depth in The DUFF, I'm looking forward to seeing how she grows with each book.

Grade: B-/C+
 
The DUFF is now out!

Source: Publicity Department at Little, Brown. Thanks, Julia!

5 comments:

  1. We shared a lot of the same feelings with this one. I also fell in between loving it and not really caring for it. I'm still really interested to see what Kody will have out next.

    Do you ever notice how easy it is to point out the reasons of why you didn't like some parts of a book rather than why you loved it? So I get why you said it might sound like you didn't like lol

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  2. Enjoyed the review! It's great when you see some of yourself in the characters.....but yeah, definitely understand about the promiscuity issue; seems to happen in quite a few YA books nowadays. Glad to hear that overall it was a good read for you....certainly have it on my wish list for a read one day. Thanks for sharing...and happy reading!

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  3. I totally agree with this review, except I think I enjoyed it a bit more. The sex actually didn't bug me that much! In a way, it kind of is realistic, but that just might be me. I have a lot of friends who sleep with guys for comfort; to make them feel good about themselves. It's wrong, but they do it. And while that isn't exactly Bianca's aim, I don't think it was too out of line for her character or anything. But I definitely understand what you mean; it's something that Bianca should've acknowledged as wrong!

    Great review! :)

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  4. I've been on the fence with whether or not I should read this book...Maybe I'll see if my library has it yet?

    Nice honest review!

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