„The DUFF“ by Kody Keplinger
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, a biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush.
But things aren’t so great at home and Bianca, desperate for a distraction, 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.
I know I shouldn’t have started reading „The DUFF“ expecting more than a fluffy teenage book/movie. I honestly don’t even remember why I thought the book would deeply and profoundly explore the topics it includes: being smart and witty while also being the duff, teenagers (and yes, even boys) who struggle with family problems at home (divorce, alcoholism, etc…), a crush that turns out to be really weird and wrong but you don’t want to give up on your idea of him/her…
Well, I don’t know why I expected more from a book called „The DUFF“ (in case you don’t know, that stands for „Designated Ugly Fat Friend“), but my problem is that I did. Which is why I couldn’t enjoy the book quite as much as I would have if I had gone into it expecting „just another teen movie“.
The characters are fun and likable enough, I might have even developed a little crush on Wesley myself and I could definitely relate to Bianca really well (maybe because we share the name Bianca, or maybe I was the DUFF in school, just maybe….). The writing style was easy and fast paced. I read „The DUFF“ all in one day during my vacation, so it is a quick read even if it disappoints you. The plot itself isn’t that bad (there were even times where I was worrying and/or rooting for the characters a whole lot. It just felt like), and the morale of it all is important.
In the end though, the book felt just like high school. Interesting but shallow, tiresome but unsettling. And after you are done, you still think it was over way too quickly… But is this what kids are like in school these days? Really? Because someone needs to do something about that.
Can I recommend the book? Sure. It’s not a must-read, but if you go into it with the right kind of expectations – looking for a fun teen read that you can get through really quickly – I’m sure you can enjoy it.
A few days after finishing the book, I watched the movie. With totally different expectations, and it actually surprised me. I liked it a lot. It’s not a masterpiece, again no „must watch„ but defnitely a movie you can have fun with more than once, or watch on a rainy day with your friends, or as backgroud noise.
I was already a fan of Mae Whitman from Parenthood, and I think she is way too pretty to be a DUFF, but that is not the point of the nickname. Everybody is somebody elses DUFF. Watch the movie or read the book to find out why.
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