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Review: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
Author: Kody Keplinger (@ Twitter/Website)
Release Date:9/7/10
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Source: Bought (Borders-the store)
Overall Feelings: Unexpectedly fabulous! 

"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."

Plot & Ending: When I took a look at this book in the store, I remembered all the good things I had read about it. Still, some part of me didn't believe that this book could be satisfying.

I was wrong.

The Duff proved to be one of the best ya romantic comedies I've read in a long time. I think one of the strongest appeals of this book is the ease with which a reader can relate to everything in it. I think at one point or another every teenager has a moment where they feel the ugliest of their group of friends. I know I have. Teenagers often mistakes, especially when it comes to boys, relationships, stress and how to handle it all. There's also the fact that it's so realistic. The circumstances of all the characters, their school lives, home lives. The boys and romance. Divorce. All real, nothing you wouldn't not witness in the everyday.

When I read this book, I didn't feel like I was dieting. That may sound strange, but there was actually some meat, some substance. Something solid to take in. When I was done, I felt sated. Like, there was absolutely nothing I would want to change. It was more than satisfying, the novel did more than entertain. It did more than tell a story. The Duff showed me. 

It showed me the insecurities of a confused, helpless teenage girl who's heart has been trampled on repeatedly. It showed me the fear and anxiety a girl can feel when struggling with the notion that the two people responsible for her creation can't find happiness with each other. It showed me what it is like to bottle up a crap load of emotions and hurts until it becomes a festering wound. What it's like to unexpectedly fall for a guy who's supposed to be a happy convenience. 

The ending was no different. I loved how Bianca handled herself, how she handled Wesley. I loved unraveling the surprise of their romance, their feelings and watching how deep their relationship became, then seeing the end result, the product of all the drama in between. By the end, I said to myself that it was well-worth the time I spent reading it. (And I actually read it within three hours!)

Characters: Bianca, the main girl, is a supremely complex character. While I didn't always agree with her or her way of thinking now, I knew that at one point I did think the way she thought. I adored her spirit. Her ability to pop Wesley's big, cocky, arrogant bubble, to see right through him, to stand up for herself, to take care of her friends. She speaks her mind. She's sassy and sarcastic. She's grumpy. And she's insecure, as is any other teenage girl. 

Wesley...I adored the cocky player of--what is it?--Oakhill. And I liked digging down to his core, finding out that there is more than meets the eye about him. A major plus was the witty dialogue exchanged between the two. I loved reading the arguments and aggressiveness. I loved reading their very, ahem, passionate scenes. I just all around loved them!

And to be honest, I haven't read about a couple quite like them. They're extremely different from the other characters I've read and they refuse to slip into a precise category. 

"'Spanish, huh?' [Wesley] said, glancing down at the scattered papers as he grabbed them. 'Can you say something interesting[,Bianca]?'

'El tono de tu voz hace que me quiera estrangularme.' I stood up and waited for him to hand over my papers.

'That sounds sexy,' he said, getting to his feet and handing me the stack of Spanish work he'd swept together. 'What's it mean?'

'The sound of your voice makes me want to strangle myself.'

'Kinky.'" (17-18) (LMAO)

Cover: The cover's pretty darn fabulous, isn't it? I love the bright, vivid colors. It's very eye-catching, in my opinion. It pops.