Author: Kody Keplinger
Genre: Young Adult / Romance
Publication: Hachette Children’s Books
Release Date: Feb 25th 2015
Special: YABC Staff Review (e-ARC)
First of all, I’d like to thank Hachette Children’s Books for offering me the e-ARC of The DUFF, and secondly, thank you YA Books Central for publishing my reviews!
The DUFF tells the story of Bianca. Bianca is in high school with her two best friends, Casey and Jessica. Until Wesley Rush tells her she’s the DUFF, she never thought about being less than her friends. She’s the fatter, uglier and less cooler friend of them, according to Wesley. Bianca starts believing him, which is understandable. Wesley Rush is the most popular boy in school, but rumor has that he is sleeping with half the school. As a teenager, Bianca is insecure. She admits that her friends are prettier, but doesn’t like the fact that Wesley reminds her of it. Still, Wesley is super attractive. And before she even realizes it, she’s kissing him. And more…
As a person, Bianca can be a bit grumpy, yet funny. She looks at the world in her own way. She’s pretty much that awkward person who trips over her own feet in crowded hallways, but also knows how to ‘not care’ about it. At least, that’s what she thinks. She’s running away from her troubles at home, right into the wide open arms of Wesley. At first, one might ask why she’d do that. But the book elaborates her struggles and inner demons perfectly. Wesley makes her feel admired yet he keeps calling her the DUFF. The book really knows how to depict the life of a real high school student.
Wesley is a character who at first looks like a not so nice person. He’s making Bianca feel like crap but at the same time keeps hanging on to her, even though he knows he could get any girl he wants. However, he doesn’t want to let Bianca go. His life unfolds slowly through the eyes of Bianca. Once you get to know him, you’ll feel sorry for him and love him. He’s more complex than you’d expect of him. Of course, he’s acting like a heartless monster at first, but he’s been through some tough stuff. It’s heartbreaking to read about his family not approving of him and his decisions.
The world Keplinger creates is perfect for the story. The settings of the high school and the homes (and bedrooms) they spend time in make it all feel very real. This story doesn’t need a fairy tale ambiance. It needs reality; teenage reality.
I do think the book could use some subtlety at the end. There’s a couple of pages that could be in a ‘how to be a good girl’ manual. It’s a bit of a morality speech. It fits in the book, honestly, but it could be toned down. It sends a brilliant message which every girl should read, understand and believe, but like I said, subtlety does it.
The DUFF is a hilarious, real, lovable story about a teenager trying to fit in, figuring out what to do with her fighting parents while falling in love with the wrong boy. I think every teenager who loves romantic comedies with a twist will fall in love with The DUFF like I did. It has everything and more. You will laugh and cry at the same time. At the end I found myself hoping that everybody’s body image will, maybe, someday, get better. Because the issue that’s depicted in The DUFF is real and should be talked about more. You will adore this story.