Book Review: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Posted June 9, 2013 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody KeplingerThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Published by Poppy on September 7th, 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 280
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

5 Stars

I am in love with a book and its title is The DUFF. I love this book to pieces. I want to cry over its perfection. I want to marry this book. I honestly couldn’t find a single flaw, so yes, this is going to be a gush fest. You may as well just skip reading this, scroll back up and click those buy links. Because you want to read this. You do.

Can we just start with the flawless awesomeness that is Bianca? I love her. She’s down-to-earth, realistic, and relatable. She made me fall in love with her when in the first 20 pages or so, she had an inner monologue about the distinction between love and like in high school, and how so many people claim to be in love, but they don’t really know what that is. You, missy, are amazing. She’s a breath of fresh air among those irritating YA heroines that fall in naive instalove. She’s so self-aware as well. She recognizes how some of the things she does or thinks are stupid and then thinks logically about it and… I just loved being in her mind.

This romance is perfect. You shouldn’t be surprised. Yesterday, I made a blog post about how I love love-hate relationships. Coincidentally, this book was next on my list. I should go back and add this example into that post because this relationship is PERFECT. Absorbing, endearing, slowly developing, challenging, but ultimately caring… It’s just perfect. Everything I could have asked for. And the chemistry… it dripped off the page. I’m sad I have an e-book copy because I want to hug this book so much right now. Ugh, I’ll just hug my e-reader.

I also love Kody Keplinger’s writing. The voice she captured in Bianca’s narrations was so authentic, beautiful, and absorbing. She is a great storyteller as well, for sure. Because not only did she get this love-hate relationship thing perfectly right, there was also a light love triangle. But I didn’t hate it, in fact, I kind of liked both sides. And then she resolved that love triangle perfectly. This all within one book, which is even shorter than the average YA. But in that one book, Kody Keplinger does this better than many YA authors manage to do in a trilogy. She just gets it. Her writing is totally convincing. The love triangle here was necessary. It was proving a point. It just made sense to have it, and it made sense how it all played out and was resolved in the end. It is… the perfect love triangle.

Okay, so maybe Kody Keplinger did have an easier go of it since this is a pure romance novel while most love triangles are in paranormal series where there’s much more to develop and stuff. But this book is still perfect. And now realize that I’m saying this about a pure romance book. I do not read pure romance often, and when I do, I’m often still extremely skeptical. Not here, guys. That should count for something.

But apart from the romance, The DUFF also makes some other important points. It is also a self-esteem, coming-of-age book. In a very relatable way, it touched my heart and made me feel enlightened afterwards, just as such a book should do. I also loved the relationship between Bianca and her parents. No absentee parents here (except for Wesley’s, I guess) and the relationship with her father was so endearing, it pretty much brought a tear to my eye. As a child of divorce, I suppose this was all extremely dear to my heart. Also, Bianca’s friendships with Casey and Jessica? Perfect.

Summing Up:

This is, plain and simple, everything I could ever want in a contemporary romance. The romance was flawless, the main character was a delight, the writing was beautiful, the storytelling was solid… I just loved it (if that hasn’t become apparent enough). It’s placed the rest of Kody Keplinger’s books on my to-read list, because I have the utmost faith in her. And this book will be on my all time favorites shelf for sure. Time to order a hard copy so I can hug it to death.

P.S. This was on my to-read list for a long, long time. Learn from my mistake, people. Pick this book up soon if you haven’t already. It will make you smile and it’s perfect to get you out of a reading slump (which I have been suffering).

GIF it to me straight!

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Are you kidding me? Everyone!

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22 responses to “Book Review: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

  1. Like you might know, I don't read contemporary often. But sometimes I like to try something new and this sounds interesting! A good MC, a fantastic romance and a convincing writing-style: these are all aspects I look for in a contemporary. I'm happy you loved it so much Debby! It's always an awesome feeling to fall in love with a book 😀
    My recent post Fairytale news 11. Jealousy & hauls.

  2. Oh I'm really glad you liked this one! Bianca's views on love sound like something I'd be all kinds of on board with. I have it on my wishlist but I'd heard mixed reviews, so I'll have to learn from you and bump it up the to-read list! Fab review 😀
    My recent post Weekly Book Round Up! 9th June

  3. AHHH I want to read this book now! For some reason I had glanced over it on Goodreads. I guess because it came out before I joined so I missed the reviews people gave it and worried it might be poorly executed but not by the sounds of it! I will definitely make a note to read this in the near future. I am so glad you loved it!!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert
    My recent post BEA 2013 Recap

  4. If contemporary were more like this, I would actually be a massive fan of the genre. I freaking love this book asdfjkl; I am so happy you are my bookish twin, because that makes finding awesome reads like this much easier in the future 🙂 <3

  5. Same here, I'm not a big contemporary fan, so I think we're in the same boat. I think you'd love this one, I really hope you decide to check it out! 🙂 (I haven't fallen in love with a book like this since… Pivot Point, I think. EEP.)

  6. Yes, definitely bump it up the to-read list! It's so worth it. I don't know what kept me putting it off for so long, but it's soooo great. I hope you love it as much as I did! Thank you! 🙂

  7. YESSS NICOLE YOU MUST READ THIS. I was the same. I had it on my list forever, but kept glancing over it because it was a bit older. BUT OMGGG it's so gooooood. I hope you love it like I did 🙂

  8. achoquet

    Ha love the owl gif! And I knew I had to read your review after seeing you rave about this book all over Twitter the last few days. I mean, I'm just not quite sure Debby, did you like this book or not?! Haha. I have to say I'm really curious about it after reading your review, but am still hesitant because it's purely a romance novel! Ahhhh! I'll have to put it on my TBR list for when I'm looking for something different, just in case. It'd be nice to have some positive thoughts about romance novels shoved into my brain!
    My recent post Bookish Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

  9. I've seen this book so many places, walked by it so many times at the bookstore. I don't know, something about the title and cover turned me off, made me assume it would be all fluff and no substance…. This isn't the first gushy review I've seen for it to dissuade me from that way of thinking, but it's the most compelling, so I think it's time for me to add it to my TBR list. As always, fantastic review!
    My recent post Book Review – Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

  10. So glad you loved this, Debby. I really liked it when I read it a couple years back, and I've been wanting to revisit it, ever since Jenni didn't like it. She raised some points that I would like to look at more closely. Haha. I still think I'll really like to love it though, since A Midsummer's Nightmare was also awesome sauce.
    My recent post BEA Book Haul, Part Three: Bloomsbury, Sourcebooks, HMH, S&amp;S, Hyperion, and One Sneaky Scholastic Title

  11. latenightswithgoodbooks

    The Duff is a story I've wanted to read for a while now, ever since I read all the hype for Keplinger's latest book last summer. Just something about this particular storyline fascinates me. I had no idea there was a love triangle in this, and I'm not really a fan of love triangles, but the fact that you think it was perfectly handled makes me super curious to read about it!

    I guess I really should learn from your mistake and read this soon myself! 🙂
    My recent post Review: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

  12. Isn't it epic? I love that gif so much. Hahahahaha, I know my squeas on Twitter were a bit much but SERIOUSLY this book is SO AWESOME. And trust me, I don't really do pure romance either. But sometimes I get in that contemporary mood and a perfectly done romance? I can't say no to that. I hope you do like it if you check it out 🙂

  13. Oh this is definitely not really a fluff book, there's so much substance to this romance… 🙂 You flatter me once again! I hope you love it like I did when you get to it 🙂

  14. This book is fantastic! I don't know anyone who didn't like it, so I haven't read any negative reviews of it either… but I suppose if you're a bit squeamish about sex in high school and stuff then you might not like it so much. I cannot wait to read A Midsummer's Nightmare. The synopsis sounds absolutely PERFECT for me. It's high on my TBR list 🙂

  15. Trust me, when it started looking like a love triangle I started getting dubious as well, but like I said, PERFECTLY handled. So please don't let that stop you!! I hope you enjoy it when you read it 🙂

  16. Judith

    *sigh* Debby, I wasn't gonna buy any books this month. But this one sounds… awesome? Wonderful? Amazing? Perfect?! I need this book now, yes? I mostly love what you said about the MC. Instalove has been KILLING me lately, so this should be a refreshing change. And how could I say no to perfect romance? And how could I doubt this book when you loved it? I know contemporary's not your thing, so this says something. Gahh. *adds to shopping basket*

  17. Hahahahahaha this makes me SO HAPPYYYYYYYYYY. I know you will love this one. Seriously. You DO need it in your life right now. I was the same with the instalove thing. I was in such a rut because of it. But yeah, this book is perfect for that. 😀 I HOPE YOU READ THIS SOON YOU WILL LOVE IT FOR SURE 😀

  18. Oh yes, breath of fresh air indeed. I CAN'T WAIT to read A Midsummer's Nightmare. I just ordered it and asdfjkl; get here already! 🙂 Glad you love this too!