Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF by Kody KeplingerThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Published: September 7th 2010 by Little Brown
Pages: 280

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.
“Your sense of humor needs some work, then," Wesley suggested. "Most girls find my jokes charming."
"Those girls must have IQs low enough to trip over.”
Where do I begin to review a book such as The DUFF? Let's start off by mentioning the only reason I was drawn into reading this: the trailer. Not the book trailer, but the awesome-looking trailer for the motion picture coming out this spring. I did notice the huge difference between the book and the movie such as the friends with benefits. Personally I didn't make a huge deal about it. I was ready for an uplifting chick-lit novel. Somehow, it disappointed immensely.

The main reason as to why I'm so disappointed, involves our main character, Bianca. This girl made me want to rip out my own hair, out of complete frustration. To begin with a lot of cussing I really needed to get used to at first. Seriously, there were moments when Bianca cussed like an Elizabethan Sailor. Second, how she kept whining throughout the entire book that she's a duff, yet does nothing about it. This is also the case with many other little things, but those little things kept piling up one another until they formed such a big mountain it became a huge struggle for me. Third, how she kept blaming every teen girl in this book of being a slut or a whore for making love to Wesley, while she was not a whit better than any of them. Eventually she figured that out, although it took a long time for her to finally realise. As I'm already talking about her realising things, she always seemed to be the last person on earth to discover what she wanted. She was constantly surprised about her surroundings and behaviour when had already seen it coming. Her personality itself is in a constant clash with the way she behaves towards others. Call her loyal, intelligent and mature, she acted like the complete opposite. This being said, I'll end my little rant about one of the most annoying main characters I've ever encountered. Moving on.

I've always had mixed feelings about a love-hate relationship. In my opinion it's always too predictable, simply because you always know they'll end up falling in love, no matter what they put each other through. After all, there's a thin line between love and hate. I didn't really love the friends with benefits combined with the relationship they had. One moment Bianca would throw her coke in his face, and a second later she'd be all over him. I didn't fell of their love for each other until the very end of the book. I don't understand why Bianca ended up loving him. Wesley was such a douche until he finally decided to change, yet it also happened way too late.

Secondary characters like Jessica, Casey and Wesley felt a bit one-dimensional to me at first. It later turned out those character were going to be the ones I ended up loving. They turned out to be more fleshed out than I first imagined, and Wesley went through some amazing character development. So I liked most of the minor characters, while others like Toby and Vikki remained close to stereotypes all the way through. I also laughed at how the author presented teenagers in the first place. Was her plan all along to create a book which claims our generation is as bad as the media shows it? As a sort-of peer of Bianca, I know our generation is bad, but how every teenager acted in this book made me want to lose my faith in humanity. There's nothing wrong in first place with sexual intercourse at seventeen, it's supposed to be normal. What wasn't normal for me at all, was how girls were portrayed to sleep with everybody they could get their hands on. Especially Bianca had the most worthless excuse to have sex.

The plot itself wasn't very good either. While I was expecting a perfect uplifting novel for the holidays, dark themes such as alcoholism and divorce cross my path. I always applaud an author when he or she chooses to put these kind of things in a book and handles it well. It just wasn't what I first expected and eventually wasn't something I enjoyed. Besides that and the countless well-written sex scenes, there was barely anything happening. Since the good part was the ending itself, I didn't had that much joy from reading the entire thing. It was only at the end the message of loving who you are became clear and Bianca realised she shouldn't judge others so much.

In the long run, I'm just very disappointed with how The DUFF turned out. I got to meet a very frustrating main character, quite the lovely and sometimes flat secondary characters and a thin plot besides all the sex, hate and fighting. All I can do now I cross my fingers in the hopes that the film will be more what I expect.

Aurélie Cremers is an eighteen-year-old living in Belgium. As an active member on Goodreads, Edelweiss and Amazon, she's always spreading her reviews to express her opinion and influences her followers to read the books she fairly enjoyed. When she's not writing, you can find her at her local bookstore or in a classroom. With her blog, "Exploring Pages", Aurélie hopes to gain a larger public in the near future and to continue that what she'll always love doing: writing.

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