Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The DUFF - Kody Keplinger

Publisher: Poppy

Indiebound 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.

I'm not quite sure what to make of The DUFF. On one hand, it is an amazingly authentic YA book. On the other hand, I spent most of the story annoyed at Bianca and frustrated by the plot.

Bianca comes off as jaded, sarcastic, cynical. She judgmental of the world and self-absorbed. I couldn't stand the negativity. Right at the start of the book, Bianca is at a teen club watching from the sidelines and she jumps right in to judging people who were enjoying themselves dancing. Even her actions toward Wesley seem sort of extreme. When she kisses him in the beginning, she stopped herself and proceed to yell at and hit him. Violent much? Even her treatment of her friends, who were amazingly loyal and awesome, grated on my nerves. And her decision to sleep with Welsey… argh, I wanted to shake her. How was this empowering to women - sleeping with the guy that called you the ugly friend. It's a horrible lesson on self-esteem.

But, I was ranting to my friend about this character and she pointed out that the character is acting like a teenager. And she was right - Bianca portrays a typical teenager that many people can relate to. As a teenager, when haven't we made stupid decisions or fallen for the bad boy. Okay, so maybe I can't relate to the bad boy thing, but I made plenty of dumb decisions as a teen. Nothing as serious as sleeping with a boy, but still dumb choices. And I think that what's appealing about this book is that Bianca is not a flawless heroine and that she is easily relatable. When haven't we compared ourselves to our friends and felt inadequate. I know that sometimes I still feel like the DUFF when I'm with my friends. But as this novel points out, everyone feels like the DUFF sometimes.

I had some problems with the plotting. There were some issues, like Bianca's father battle with alcohol, that I felt she took shortcuts with. But overall, I didn't regret reading this book. I enjoyed the character development and Bianca improved in the end.

Book Source: ARC Copy borrow from library book group

Author Website | Indiebound | Goodreads


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