Title: The DUFF
Author: Kody Keplinger
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown/Poppy
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
To start: holy freaking crap.
It was edgy, it was punchy, it was shockingly honest. It was so outrageously real that when I finished it I wished that I was back in high school so I could appreciate it more.
Now, I will admit that in the beginning I didn't want to read this book. High school, for me, was the closest thing to hell on earth. I was in that group of nerd-ish girls that never had dates or went to dances or had close guy friends. I didn't want to read this book because I didn't want to admit to myself that I was a 'duff.' (And I'd never heard the term before, but hey, I live in BC, Canada. Some slang doesn't always cross the border.) After reading, I've admitted to myself that I was a duff, but it's true what Keplinger writes, that we're all duffs. We're all insecure about how we look or act or talk, and it shouldn't matter, we should be able to look or act or talk the way we want, but it does matter. I wish I had this book when I was in high school. Maybe I wouldn't have been so introverted, or uncomfortable, or lonely and single.
On to the book. It's an amazing book. Keplinger is so honest and so realistic. I immediately meshed with Bianca, a smart girl with a punchy attitude who thinks her friends are way prettier than she is. I understood her hatred and later using of Wesley. He's a womanizing slimeball like so many other guys in high school, and smoking hot to boot, but he's got problems, too.
Sure, Bianca uses Wesley for sex to escape from friends and family and ex-boyfriends, and while she's 17 and in high school, I didn't have a problem with it. I was okay with it. She's mature in using condoms and birth control, and she's smart enough to understand the consequences (mostly) of sleeping with a guy while being 17 and in high school.
So much is being thrown at her, too: an absent parent, friends moving on with their lives, an ex-boyfriend who cruelly used and dumped her. She's desperate for a distraction, even one that's brought on by kissing a guy she hates, then sleeping with him, then falling for him. I love that Bianca vs. herself conflict over her relationship with Wesley. She thinks he's a jerk, but there's that elusive 'something about him' that makes her forget all about her problems for that brief period of time.
The small teeny tiny issue I had was that Bianca kept so much inside and slept with Wesley to forget about her problems instead of talking about them with her best and closest friends. I guess it's just the truth that everyone keeps secrets, even from the people they're closest to.
All in all, I thought this book was really good. The honesty was a wonderful surprise. It wasn't gritty in the realism like Harmonic Feedback was, but still honest and realistic and very believable.
I promise my next review will be a paranormal YA book. I should really blend my reading of the two. ;)