Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Fiction, Friendship, Humor, Love & Romance, Media Tie-In, Social Issues, Young Adult
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on September 7th 2010
Amazon, Barnes & Noble , The Book Depository
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.
The Duff is the kind of book that tackles situations and feelings a lot of teens can relate to, even myself. The book starts off by stating that Bianca, our main character, is the DUFF in her friends circle, but by the end we know that every once in a while, all of us feel the same way and it’s okay. I really liked how a lot of these things put up front felt very real with a character such as Bianca. She was cynical, sassy, bitchy, smart, but also sweet and caring of the people she cared about. She and I would be real life pals.
From the first chapter we know something is up with Bianca and manwhore Wesley Rush when he first calls her the DUFF, and how he would use this to his advantage to get laid by a friend of Bianca’s. But she manages the situation perfectly with straight up humiliation for Wesley and flipping him off. I couldn’t stop laughing or giggling at every situation these two were present because as mismatched as they might seem at first, they make a good couple for each other. None of all this mushy romantic love, and it felt refreshing.
One thing that bothered me in this book was the parental situation with Bianca. Her mom had left and her dad was relapsing into old alcoholic habits from before she was even born. This is the fourth or fifth book I’ve read with similar elements of the mom leaving the dad and the dad becoming a mess before he realizes his mistake at abandoning the kid in the first place. However, it was great to see how the author dealt with this all-too-well-known problem a lot of teens face these days and how realistic things happened. No sugar coating of it, just raw and sincere on how divorce can affect both the parents and the kid (s).
Which brings me to the other thing of this book I liked. You can run away as much as you want but your problems will catch up with you sooner or later. Bianca doesn’t realize she’s doing this at first when she starts meeting up with a certain someone in secret in a search for total forgetfulness of her problems at home and insecurities with the source of half those problems, Wesley. Oh Wesley… The man is a total player and manwhore, but he’s also super sweet, funny, smart, charming, sexy… Both he and Bianca, eventually, face their own problems with their families and themselves by the end of the book before it ends… perfectly romantic. I mean, every girl, even cynical bitchy ones want one of those, specially if a Wesley is included.
The DUFF was a really great book in general. I haven’t watched the movie yet so I don’t know how they change things there, but this book is a great depiction of how being a teen might be in this age. Drama here and drama there even when we don’t look out for it. Friendships might be ruined and families torn if we succumb to the temptation of running away. There will come a moment when we have to face reality and deal with it. We can harm ourselves if we let the hateful comments of others affect us, too. Only your thoughts matter when it comes to your self-image and how you feel about it; fuck the world if they think you should look this way or the other. A great read for everyone looking for something quirky and inspiring if you’re going through the harsh teenage years or want to reminisce on those already gone.
Rating: 5 stars
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