By Kody Keplinger
Published by Little Brown/Poppy
"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."- Goodreads
The Duff is a quirky read for more mature audiences regarding a girl who is dubbed as "the Duff" - the designated ugly fat friend within a group. The Duff shows Bianca's transition between hating the term to growing to appreciate it and doing likewise to the one who called her that.
Bianca Piper is dubbed "the Duff" by Wesley Rush, an arrogant -and lack of better term- man slut. Although I did not completely connect with Bianca and never really did understand her decisions, her voice really made this story have a nice vibe to it. Her humor lightened the dialogue up and pried some smiles out of me. Wesley is somewhat of a jerk. He's arrogant, popular with the ladies, handsome, and completely a teenage boy. Even when he opened up to Bianca in their very messed up "relationship" (why yes, it consisted of only the three letter word), I still did not fall head over heels for him. The only redeeming thing about Wesley Rush is that he took an interest in Bianca and cared about her - he did show some sensitivity. When he sticks up for Bianca regarding her dad I finally had that major fan-girl moment. But I highly disagree with the "relationship" they had. (Although it did cause some butterflies to do back flips in my stomach when they would talk and banter.) By the end of the book, I felt like they were a great couple and I was happy that they were going to start a *cough* healthy relationship. Sigh. What can I say? Wesley -and even Bianca- totally grew on me. Their hate-turned-love thing worked out in the end.
Bianca's best friends were awesome. I just wish we could have seen more of them and I was angry at how Bianca kept secrets from them. I wish I had two besties like that! Her parent's characters were really well done too. Especially Bianca's dad. He was such a complex character and their relationship is one that I think many can relate too.
The whole plot was focused around Bianca's struggle with her life: this consisting of her Dad and Mom's situation, her problems with her friends, and of course her "enemies-with-benefits" relationship with Wesley. Somehow, it was a page-turner, I couldn't put it down. The writing quality had a smooth flow and like I said before, Bianca's voice really adds a special element to the book. The ending was sweet and I thought it was well done. A nice stand-alone ending.
I'd recommend this to older audiences (just because of the content) who love a good romantic comedy but also a book that has a lot of character development. Bianca really went from a "duff" to a "duff" that knew she was good enough.
Wesley sighed. "Fine. You're being really uncooperative, you know. So I guess I'll be honest with you. I've got to hand it to you: you're smarter and more stubborn than most girls I talk to. But I'm here for a little more than witty conversation." He moved his attention to the dance floor. "I actually need your help. You see, your friends are hot. And you, darling, are the Duff."
"Is that even a word?"
"Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend," he clarified. "No offense, but that would be you."
"I am not the-!"
"Hey, don't get defensive. It's not like you're an orge or anything, but in comparison...." He shrugged his broad shoulders.
"Look," he said, "you have hot friends....really hot friends." He paused, watching the action on the dance floor for a moment, before facing me again. "The point is, scientists have proven that every group of friends has a weak link, a Duff. And girls respond well to guys who associate with their Duffs."
With one swift motion I jumped to my feet and flung the contents of my glass in Wesley's direction.
"If you think I'm letting one of my friends leave this place with you, Wesley, you're very very wrong," I spat. "You're disgusting, shallow, womanizing jackass, and I hope that soda stains your preppy little shirt."