Title: The Duff (The Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
Author: Kody Keplinger
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books (5th April 2012)
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper knows she’s not the hottest girl at school, but when school jock and resident moron Wesley casually refers to her as a Duff – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – the gloves are off!
If there’s a think line between love and hate then Bianca has crossed it. She just never thought she was capable of breaking anyone’s heart . . .
Rating: *** (3 stars)
I first heard of this book through The Book Rat. Misty had written a really interesting review about the book (which can be found here), and I really wanted to see what I thought of it myself.
This is a book that I found it terribly easy to over identify with, which made it at times a VERY hard read. I think there’s a little voice in (almost) all our heads that says that we’re the duff – that we’re not as beautiful, as thin/healthy, as tall/small as our friends. The Duff has some interesting commentary in it about this.
One of my biggest problems with this book was that I over identified with Bianca. Normally, I think it’s great when I can identify with the protagonist of a book. However, some of the aspects of Bianca’s character hit a little too close to home. As such, it was a little hard to read at times and I had to keep putting the book down.
I really enjoyed the basic plot of the book. Yes, it is entirely predictable – but you can say that about any book about romance – but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. I liked the way Keplinger wrote Bianca’s relationship with her friends, and how she tries to protect both of them (and herself). Bianca was a brilliant protagonist, though I’m not entirely sure she fits the characteristics of a duff – but I get that, that is kinda entirely the point (being the duff, or not, is entirely in our heads). I really enjoyed reading her interactions with Wesley, for me that’s when the book really came alive.
The Duff is a really enjoyable book, but it’s a really hard one too. I look forward to seeing what books Keplinger writes in the future. If The Duff is anything to go by, then they will be an interesting read.