The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Published: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Genre: YA Contemporary-Realistic Fiction/Romance
My Rating: 4/5

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 “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out 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.

When I first read the blurb, I was expecting a light Young Adult somewhat chick-lit with a bit of romance going on and maybe a bunch of cheerleaders vs. a dork cliche that seems to be the norm in this genre but, imagine my surprise when none of that happened! Don't be fooled by the blurb and the genre because there is nothing light and cutesy about this book, at all! Despite the seemingly ordinary blurb, there is nothing ordinary about the story. This book handled serious teen issues. So if you thought of not wanting to read this book because you were expecting a cutesy teen romance then you might want to reconsider. Bianca was not a typical misfit. She's independent, loving, protective, skeptic and strong-minded. Her friends, Casey and Jessica, were clever, funny, loyal, understanding and overall good friends. They take care of each other and are an ultimate BFF...

...which is an exact opposite of the "dumb bitches" suggested by the movie trailer. 
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Again, the movie is completely NOT following the book! But this is a discussion for another day.

One of the first thoughts I had before reading this book was that this is going to be one of those Disney stories where the belittled, ugly and unworthy girl received a make-over and turn into a beautiful and elegant princess. That did not happened! There were no transformations whatsoever! Wesley did not gave Bianca a clothing, posture or make-over tips. That is what I love about this book. This book are unconventional, unique and realistic in its portrayal and handling of the issues of teen problems. 

At the beginning, the story might seems to centers around the issues of being a Duff and the journey of the main character to transform herself to not be a Duff anymore. That's what you would have thought, at first. But as we delve deeper, it became clear that there are more than just an ugly duckling trying to become a swan. There were more pressing underlying issues that soon to surface as we read on. There we get to see the real side of the characters and it is interesting to see how much depth there is to Bianca, Wesley, Jessica and Taylor than just some teenagers with hormonal problems. 

Honestly, the blurb made me thought that this was just another teen-flicks with cliche turnouts and a main character with a serious lack of confidence waiting for some Prince Charming to save her. Bianca wasn't alone in needing a savior. Wesley who would have been a Prince Charming needs a savior of his own. But it wasn't the main characters only that has issues. Bianca's best friends, Jessica and Taylor also has issues of their own. So it is interesting how they all come together and help each other.

I like how ballsy Bianca was. Despite being defined as a Duff, she doesn't have a trouble with her self-esteem whatsoever. In fact, she was more confident with herself than ever before. I also love how Wesley developed from a seemingly ordinary a**hole/jock into a more decent human being who understand the consequences of his action (and thus, became less slutty). 
Less slutty, I say! xD 
Overall, this book turns out to be a very interesting read and was not at all what I expected. If what you expected was:
  • A shallow main character who just found out she is ugly and want to do a make-over to change her look (that is so overly Disney cliche!)
  • Cliche "cheerleaders" with enormous boobs and fake personality with no business but to torture lowlifes 
  • Two bitches of best friends who uses their other not-so-pretty friend just so they can appear prettier
  • A simple teenage romance

...then throw all of this expectations out of the window because none of those above was true. The blurb and the movie trailer may gave you the above expectations but read the book and you will see how it is NOT AT ALL like so.
Definitely recommended! 

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