This article does contain spoilers and quotes from the book. Read at your own risk.
The Duff by Kody Keplinger is a book about high school and how to deal with being under pressure, especially as a girl. Bianca Piper has recently been having more family problems than usual, so one day at a popular teen hangout, she kisses–no, makes out with the most stereotypical popular boy at her school, Wesley Rush. This starts a whole secret relationship that Bianca uses as a distraction. Obviously, Bianca and Wesley end up together in the end.
“‘I’d skipped the crush kiddie pool and jumped right into the deep, shark-infested ocean of emotions. And, if you’ll forgive the dramatic metaphor, I was a lousy swimmer.’”
I honestly felt like this book was okay compared to other romantic books. Though it brings up the plot of ‘ugly’ girl ends up with ‘gorgeous’ boy, I think it is twisted to actually make things seem more realistic. It isn’t the ‘when I saw you, I knew you were the one’ type of book, but instead a book about what goes on between a girl and a boy when a girl just needs a way to escape the reality of what is actually happening in her life. You don’t see Bianca lay eyes on Wesley and get butterflies pounding in her stomach.
“‘Those girls must have IQs low enough to trip over.’”
Instead you see Bianca Piper constantly torn between grief for her mother to be around, and sympathy for her father because her parents are getting divorced. Bianca just deals with things a little differently.
“I should be proud to be the Duff. Proud to have great friends who, in their minds, were my Duffs.”
And that’s what I like. I like that you see Bianca change and learn to discover that being a ‘Duff’-Designated Ugly Fat Friend- is okay and every group has one. Her friends are supportive and want her to be happy. As much as this book is about the romance between Wesley Rush and Bianca, it is also about the relationship between Bianca and her two best friends.
“Every girl felt like one of these sexist labels described her at some point.”
This book dealt a lot with a girl’s self-hatred. Girls often call themselves fat, ugly, disgusting, etc but what’s worse is when they start calling other girls names that degrade them as a human being. Somewhere towards the end of the book, Bianca starts to think of girls around Wesley as horrible names because she is jealous of them. Before her thoughts can become words, she realizes that she is just the same thing if she is calling these girls those names and how she spends her time with Wesley.
“‘You didn’t, like, stab the boy, did you? I mean, I totally disapprove of murdering hotties, but if you need help burying the body, you know I’ll bring the shovel.’”
Overall, I liked the pace of the book. It’s only a little over 300 pages and is fun to read. I don’t recommend this to anyone that is uncomfortable about topics including sex, but it’s a good read nonetheless.