Title: The D.U.F.F. (The Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
Author: Kody Keplinger
Genre: YA, contemporary
Published: 2012 (this edition published in 2015)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Acquired: Bought from local bookstore chain
Book Blurb:: Meet Bianca. Hamilton High’s Resident DUFF. Apparently.
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper knows she’s not the hottest girl at school, but when school jock and man-slut Wesley casually refers to her as a DUFF- Designated Ugly Fat Friend– the gloves are off! But then before she knows it, Bianca finds herself in a secret enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
If there’s a thin line between love and hate then Bianca has crossed it. She just never thought she was capable of breaking anyone’s heart.
So I’m being introduced to this a bit late; I only saw this book on Goodreads at the end of 2016, even though it has been around for years. However, as soon as I read the blurb I knew I wanted to check it out. And boy, was I not disappointed!!
Without spoiling too much, the book centers around Bianca. Bianca is not a girl who likes to just ‘hook up’ with guys, like a lot of her friends seem to want to do. She believes love happens over a long period of time, and doesn’t see the point in being with a guy just for the sake of it. She hates parties, but continuously goes out with her two best friends so she can keep them safe. At one particular party, she is approached by Wesley Rush, the school heart-throb and, according to Bianca, a man-slut.
She hates Wesley and his attitude, and Bianca is proven right when he talks to her just to try and get with one of her gorgeous best friends, Casey and Jessica. To make matters worse, he then calls her the DUFF in the friendship- the Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Normally Bianca doesn’t care about fashion, appearance and things, but this particular comment stung.
Despite everything, external situations get the better of her and somehow Bianca and Wesley end up with an enemies-with-benefits relationship. With relationships, friendships and other pressing matters weighing on Bianca, how will this new revelation develop?
I wasn’t sure if this was going to be my kind of book to be honest, but the plot and cover intrigued me and I was excited to give this a try. In some of my friendships I do feel like a DUFF, so I really wanted to see how this was portrayed. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would, I have to admit!
This book sounds as if it would be your typical chick-flick kind of novel, but it is actually really good! It deals with some hard topics surrounding family, alcoholism, divorce, love, etc, and it is developed in a really nice way. I couldn’t stop reading, and I really felt a lot of the emotions in it (which is always a good sign in my book). ❤
The D.U.F.F. did have a bit of a shakey start for me, and I didn’t like Bianca’s personality at first. I do share parts of her cynicism, but she can be so scathing and judgemental at times it really clashed with my personality. I also couldn’t believe at how many secrets she kept! Could she not see her relationships change (not just in romance)?! I just wish she would have told her friends a little of what was going on, it certainly would have stopped so much of the drama!! Despite some of the clashes and frustrations she was fun to read as the book went on, and I definitely warmed up to her 🙂
I really enjoyed the whole ‘enemies-with-benefits’ line. I mean, the romance side was a bit predictable, but I felt Keplinger wrote it really well. The feelings developed slowly, and it didn’t feel like insta-love at all- yay! 🙂 The ending made me really happy too. Not only was it a fitting end, but it dealt with so many important messages for teens and adult alike. Love yourself! ❤ I felt so content, which is a really nice feeling to have when reading a contemporary. This was a solid debut, I’m very impressed!
One thing I did find hard to grasp at the beginning was that, for someone as cynical about life as Bianca, she latched on the whole Duff context really quickly, obsessively so. I didn’t feel she focussed too much attention on it (as it is the title of the book), but there were times when I didn’t know if it was necessary to add in the Duff element to what was going on. I guess I didn’t expect Bianca to be so affected about it, but on the other hand it does show a constant insecurity amongst teens and women in society?
I also didn’t understand why she wanted to get with Wesley in the first place, especially after he insulted her. I know that it would be an easy escape (with a so-called man-slut), but maybe I’m too mature for my age, as I would never even consider doing that with someone just to run away? This only minor though, as it is an obvious plot device and the book does explain that she uses it as a coping mechanism. In a way it is nice to see the main character with such obvious flaws, not every girl grows up being innocent and moral when it comes to relationships.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Once I got used to Bianca’s personality I couldn’t get enough. I love the relationship between Bianca and Wesley, and it was great that this was more than you typical love story. There have been some mixed reviews about this book, but I actually really liked it! It is refreshing to have someone like Bianca as a protagonist (even if I didn’t share all of her negative opinions). The relationship was really fun to read, and this novel dealt with some difficult themes which wove into the story really well. With some snarky comments but character growth, The D.U.F.F is a really entertaining book that offers some really important messages about labels and acceptance. I loved it, and I cant wait to read more of Keplinger’s work.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! ♥
P.S. Also, I watched the move version straight after reading this book and… it sucked???!?!?! I mean, the whole storyline completely changed! I wanted to cry, it was so different! I think I would have enjoyed it as a chick flick if I hadn’t read the book, but the novel is so much better- it is more developed! I also don’t know why they changed the family dynamic as well, that was the key sub-plot of the book!? Okay, rant over.