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.
My Thoughts: I found out about The DUFF at Angie’s blog, where she gave it a glowing review. YA novels about high school have become kind of hit-or-miss for me. I either really like them or am so bored by them that I can’t finish.
The DUFF definitely exceeded my expectations and as I was reading it I was making note of several things I was very impressed by and that I wanted to tell the author about.
1. I love the narration. Bianca’s voice is spot on and while I’m sure the author has probably received some flack from parent’s groups or uptight reviewers about the expletives, I think it was pitch perfect and never overdone. Teenagers talk a certain way, end of story.
2. The friendships. I’m not sure why this is such an issue, but in most of the YA novels I read that are aimed at girls, very rarely do we see much positive and fleshed-out interaction between two girls that are friends! It’s a problem. So many novels are too focused on the romance between The Girl and The Guy. While The DUFF definitely has romance, I was still very impressed by how real and unique the friendship between Bianca, Jessica, and Casey was. As well, Jessica and Casey weren’t just two blah-blah supporting characters, but had depth of their own. I appreciated that.
3. I wish I had read this book when I was in high school. The way the book dealt with sex and the horrible misogynist stereotypes forced on teenage girls as a result of sex was great. Having sex doesn’t make you a whore (even in a purely hookup relationship) and girls going around calling each other whores and sluts is probably one of the worst things about high school–and so many girls don’t even realize how it hurts themselves, as women, to do this. I wish I had realized this while in high school. I participated in this vicious cycle as a teenager and I didn’t see the light until college. I was frankly delighted with the way this was handled in The DUFF. Not preachy or full of it.
Can’t wait to read Keplinger’s next novel, Shut Out.
Author Website: http://kodykeplinger.com/