Published by Poppy on September 7th, 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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.
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).