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.
Title: The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
Author: Kody Keplinger
Published: September, 2007 by Little Brown/Poppy
Time it took me to read: 26/01 – 27/01
Rating: 4 out of 5
Bianca is a regular, 16 year old girl with gorgeous friends who like to dance and flirt with boys while she downs Cherry Coke at the bar while hanging out with the middle-aged bartender named Joe. This is all fine and dandy until one night the most popular and beautiful boy in the school comes up to her to talk. Wesley is known as a womanizer, he sleeps with everything that moves. But he doesn’t approach Bianca for that reason, he talks to her because she is the DUFF – the Designated Ugly Fat Friend. He informs her of this and tells her that the only reason he is even over there is because she has hot friends and hot friends like it when they talk to their DUFF friend. But Bianca is not the type of girl who takes shit like this and flings the remains of her Cherry Coke right in his smug face. Well done, Bianca.
But then things start to get hard in Bianca’s life. Her mother files for divorce, which makes her alcoholic father relapse even though he hasn’t had a drink since before Bianca was born. And even the guy who broke her heart at 14 comes back to town with his fiancée. Bianca desperately needs a distraction and so she flings herself at the person she hates the most; Wesley. It’s a friends with benefits thing and Wesley is not the type of person that would reject a girl. It’s a win-win situation, right?
This book caught my eye the very first time I sat foot in the library, even before I had a library card and when I was just there to have a look around. It was under the ‘Friends and Other Enemies’ section sandwiched between Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. I don’t know what it was exactly, but it spoke to me. It was calling me from the bookshelf. But of course I couldn’t check it out yet so I had to wait. But I never forgot.
When I did check it out, I was afraid that it was going to be a very cynical and badly written book about the ‘ugly friend’ that somehow by some miracle attracts the fancy of the popular guy despite being the DUFF. Turns out that it was the complete opposite, thank goodness. Bianca is actually very smart, loyal and strong. She is unfamiliar to the concept of the DUFF until Wesley tells her about it and doesn’t necessarily sees herself that way.
The relationship with Wesley is her idea and she is not ashamed of what she’s doing. She needs an escape and he can help her with that. She takes control of the situation. She is not a victim or necessarily innocent.
It is well written and I absolutely love the ending and the way both Bianca and Wesley grow throughout the story. I love that it’s not a straightforward love story and that her friends play a big role in her life. It hits all the marks for me. I read this book in one day and I would read it again and again.
Besides the story, it’s also well written and funny and sarcastic and lovely. It’s not world class literature but I don’t care about that. I found it very enjoyable. I rate it a 4 out of 5. I recommend it to you if you’re not squeamish about somewhat graphic sex-scenes and casual intimate relationships. Also physical and alcohol abuse. This book is about empowerment though, and finding yourself in a time of struggle.
Have any of you read it? I had never heard of it before I saw it in the library so I wonder if it’s somewhat well known/popular?