Monday, April 9, 2012
Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Publishing Date: September 7th, 2010
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 280 pgs
Source: my local library
My Rating: 4 stars
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
This book is about a girl, Bianca, who is going through a pretty tough time in her life. Her mother had pretty much abandoned their family and then pretty much demands a divorce. This in turn begins a downward spiral for the father. While this going on, Bianca decides to deal with her frustrations and sadness by sleeping with a guy who has repeatedly called her the DUFF (the designated, ugly fat friend).
Just from the title of the novel, for some reason I expected this book to be funny. I am not sure why but I didn't expect it to be as serious as it was. For the most part I really enjoyed this novel. I really liked all of the characters and I really liked the plot line. I was a little shocked at how much sex was in the novel but it didn't make me dislike the book. In fact, I think in a way I liked it more because of it. Okay, let me explain that before you go thinking I'm a bit of a perv. I think that Keplinger doesn't hold back because her novel in a YA novel. Sometimes, in other YA novels you can tell the author held back in writing sex scenes or glosses over them when a big part of a being a teen is navigating through your sexual impulses. Things are new and hormones are high as a teen and I think that confuses many adolescents. It is something that is a big issue for teens and I think to gloss it over does nothing. I like that Keplinger doesn't hesitate to dive right into the deeper topics even though they may be a bit controversial.
My one complaint about the book is the way that alcoholism is depicted in the novel. I have grown up in a family where alcoholism runs rampant and I think that the way the father miraculously comes out of his alcoholism because of one incident (I'll admit a fairly traumatic incident) isn't how things would typically happen. In my experience, alcoholics are in denial for most of the time and even though really bad things may happen, many will refuse to admit to having a problem. Again, I think this may be my one complaint because it hits a little too close to home but I do remember being a teen and reading some books with this issue that is too easily resolved. I also remember thinking and desperately hoping that things can be that easily resolved in my life and feeling deeply disappointed when it wasn't. Again, this is all because of my personal experiences and I do not think the majority of people will be bugged by this.
Overall, this is a great book and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.