The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF by Kody KeplingerThe DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 25th February, 2015
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

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.

 I held back from reading this book for years because I had a feeling I wouldn’t like it; the title alone was enough to annoy me but due to a mild interest in the upcoming (already released? idek) movie I figured I’d ignore my misgivings and give this book a try. Well. Turns out I should have listened to my own advice.

The DUFF is about a girl who is considered to be the Ugly Fat Friend in her group, a title given to her by some loser guy ~the most popular guy in school~ who hangs around in bars thinking up abbreviations like DUFF as part of a convoluted scheme to get girls to sleep with him. Whatever.

Bianca, the ‘DUFF’, is honestly so tedious – she’s prickly and antisocial, quick to dismiss high school traditions as ridiculous and unnecessary and is seriously judgmental of other girls her age. Wesley is the unfathomably popular guy who targets Bianca as the DUFF in her friend group, and thus an antagonistic relationship is formed. I really did not like him. With Bianca it’s a lot easier for me to understand her mindset; yes, she’s not a character I warmed to but she’s also a teenage girl trying to survive in an environment that can be incredibly hostile to teenage girls. Wesley, on the other hand, is a good looking guy with every privilege afforded to him. He basically attacks Bianca’s self-image, and countless girls before her. I just…how dare he sit around judging girls for the way they look and behave, and then have the audacity to then pursue one of those girls? Bianca grows throughout this book but Wesley never does – it is notable that when he eventually does apologise, he does it to Bianca in the vein of ~you’re not like anyone else (those OTHER girls)~ and it really annoyed me. Society will always find ways to excuse the behaviour of privileged white boys; I don’t need fiction targeted at teenage girls to perpetuate the idea that boys who behave the way Wesley does are just waiting for the ‘right girl’ to come along and change their viewpoint.

*breathes*

ANYWAY, some good points: I was impressed with how open this book was about teenage sexuality; Bianca sleeps with Wesley several times throughout the course of the novel and she has a great time. She is a sexual character who uses sex as a way to relax and to feel good about herself – there is a lot of subtext about how Bianca, powerless in her ordinary life, regains that same power in her sexuality. YAS SEXUAL WOMEN. This is also a pretty good book in terms of female friendships – Bianca and her two best friends are all different, both in personality and looks but they are close regardless of their differences and apparent varying social rankings (…America…) I also thought that Bianca’s character development was very realistic. She doesn’t stop being cynical just because she falls in love but she does see that her tendency to judge people at face value is a childish habit that she works to slowly overcome.

Ultimately, I do think this book has merits that explain why it gets so much praise in the book community, but for me personally I found the love story, and more to the point, the love interest to be infuriating. I did not enjoy that aspect of the book at all, which is a shame because it is a huge part of the story. Guys like Wesley should be dumped in the trash t b h.

5 comments on “The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

  1. Judith March 30, 2015 1:18 pm

    Basically everything you said. Loved the sex positivity, hated (HATED) Wesley. How dare you call Bianca a DUFF, even when you sleep with her, you arrogant piece of shit. He was less assholey in the movie, but not any better. Loathe.

  2. Cynthia March 30, 2015 2:49 pm

    I agree with you. I did not like this book very much. Yes, I thought it was great that Bianca enjoyed sex. But I didn’t get why she chose to have sex with someone she hated. To me, that screams lack of self confidence. And Wesley was supposedly able to get anyone he wanted, but he chose to sleep with someone who just insulted him all the time. I didn’t get that either.

  3. Kyra March 30, 2015 7:10 pm

    Ahh, I got this to review on Netgalley and now I’m hesitant to read it haha! I don’t really agree on teenagers sleeping around, especially if they’re not in a committed relationship and I hate it when a book has a horrible love interest so I’ll be aware of that haha! Great review 😀

  4. Kristen@ My Friends Are Fiction March 31, 2015 2:47 am

    I’m so relieved you didn’t really like this book. I started it because of the hype around the movie and got about half way before I couldn’t take anymore and DNFed. I wasn’t a fan of the characters and Wesley was AWFUL. I didn’t feel a single thing for him but loathing. I don’t think I’ll be picking it up again. I’m sorry you didn’t like it but at the same time happy to not be alone.

  5. Rachel March 31, 2015 10:32 pm

    I’m ridiculously giddy to have found someone who didn’t enjoy this book either! It seems like everywhere I go so many bloggers whose opinions I value are saying it’s all about sex and body positivity, and that they swoon for Wesley, and that the humour is so real and cynical. I just didn’t get any of this from the read at all. The original elements that I liked were the fact Bianca lived with her dad and her mum was the screw up, I think too often it’s portrayed the other way around. The personal family issues she was dealing with were brutal, and real, and Wesley was even afforded his defining character moment for me because of it. So you can imagine my annoyance when all of these “original” things (to me anyways) were removed or flipped in the movie. Hollywood, you only had to do one thing!! Sigh. The parts I didn’t like about this book, were improved in the movie though, so that helped. The humour definitely translates better on screen. Great review!

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