Jul 2, 2012

REVIEW: The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

5/5 stars from me for this terrific debut novel. I just read Kody Keplinger's latest novel A Midsummer's Nightmare yesterday and I'd had The Duff waiting to be read for months now, I could have kicked myself for taking so long to read this book. It was fantastic. A great debut from a no doubt talented author.
The characters and the plot were very well executed. It was one of those can't-put-down-novels just like her latest. She weaves an intense story with such dynamic characters that pull you in and hold you hostage from the start till the very last line.
I loved Bianca's character. Kody's female characters as I've seen thus far are independent but have the common distinction of family dysfunction. When we meet Bianca, she's one of those girls that hate the lime-light. She's not into parties but she's a good friend and tags along because her friends want her there. She's then approached by Hamilton High's proclaimed man-whore, Wesley Rush who admits to her that he's using her to gain favor with one of her friends by talking to her because she's a DUFF. Apparently a 'Duff' is a acronym for 'Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend.' Wesley basically tells her it's not because she's really ugly but that in comparison to her friends she might as well be. Needless to say, she dumps her Cherry Coke all over his douche-y ass and gets the hells outta' there.

Things couldn't have possibly gotten worst for Bianca until she's paired up with Wesley for a project after practically mauling him at The Nest. Bianca's been kinda' stressed out at this point. First she's been made aware of something about herself that she'd never really given any thought to and develops some self-esteem issues and then her mom serves her dad with divorce papers and he starts to drink again after 18 years of sobriety.

I'm not saying that what she did was wrong but having sex with someone to alleviate the stress in your life can't be very healthy. Especially when you've declared to hate that person and he's a womanizing, Duff-calling bastard. But Bianca seems to think this helps and Wesley 'the man-whore' Rush doesn't reject her because he rejects no  girl. An addiction of sorts develop and Bianca starts neglecting her friends in order to relieve some stress with Wesley. Every time her  worries increase she turned to Wesley. Turned out they were both kinda' messed up in the familial fronts and I knew then that they deserved each other.

Bianca however couldn't face her feelings for Wesley knowing that even if she admitted to feeling this way, it may not make a difference because Wesley is who he is and she's 'the Duff.' She fell in love with him big-time but kept denying it to herself. She avoids Wesley and starts seeing Toby Tucker who's the perfect guy in every way and someone she'd had a crush on for years but Wesley wasn't giving up because for the first time, he wanted to chase a girl because he'd fallen in love. I totally loved Wesley in all his egomaniac glory.

"Wesley Rush doesn’t chase girls, but I’m chasing you.” 
― Kody Keplinger, The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend 

I on the other hand wouldn't have balled up that letter and tossed it but kept it close because I thought Wesley's first attempt at romance was sweet, cute even. I'd give him an A+ for trying so hard to get her attention. 
Toby was pretty great about letting her go, I mean she and Wesley deserved each other. And her figuring that being 'The Duff' wasn't such a bad thing was icing on the cake.

I completely recommend this novel to anyone. It's YA but more YA Contemporary I think because of the language and sexual situations. More grown up YAs.
It's a great novel for someone in their late teens and older. This author is seriously talented and everyone should read her novels, you'll see why I'm so gushy about her!

For a review of A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger click here:

For more on Kody check out her website:


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"I am obsessed with you, angel. Addicted to you. You're everything i've ever wanted or needed, everything i've dreamed of. You're everything. I live and breathe you. For you."— Sylvia Day