>The Duff by Kody Keplinger
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 “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face. But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that 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. (From Amazon.ca)
Bianca is one of the most entertaining characters I have ever read so far. She made me laugh at so many points in the novel and I wrote down so many memorable quotes thanks to her. She’s definitely one of my favorite protagonists of this year. She’s got great wit, and I love her personality. Her insults directed to Wesley are so well done and well written I chuckle even after reading the book. All this being said, I immediately liked Bianca from the beginning. She’s an extremely likable character and grabs the reader’s attention quickly. I also really enjoyed Casey as well. She is the perfect friend every girl should have in their lifetime. Extremely supportive, friendly, funny, and cheerful she was the complete opposite of Bianca but they both complimented each other well. What I really liked is when she pointed out what she found were her physical ‘faults’ and compared herself to Bianca. It was as if she was trying to say there’s a ‘Duff’ in everyone.
The plot was good. Really good. It did catch me off my guard because I wasn’t expecting Bianca and Wesley to have this kind of relationship before. I don’t really quite understand why she would do so with a character like Wesley but it was mentioned that he was “hot”. The theme of being the ‘Duff’ within a group of friends really got to Bianca, and it’s perfectly understandable. Beneath her cynicism and wit, the insult really did get to her and it shows that she’s not just a two dimensional character with only wit and armed with great comebacks. She’s also got this other side of her personality where she’s just really alone and by herself with the issues at home. It’s gotten to the point where it’s so overwhelming for Bianca, that she just needed an outlet. That outlet just happened to be Wesley. Wesley as a character just did not appeal to me.
Although some may not agree with her relationship with Wesley, and the subject matter, I’d have to say, it’s really not any different from how some adults deal with their issues. It might bother some people, or it might not, however I’ll add that because of the subject matter this is really targeted towards older teens. Yet I wish Bianca could have chosen someone different as I really didn’t like Wesley and don’t think I ever will. The ending of the book does tie things nicely yet I wish some things ended in a different way.
I definitely recommend this book to YA readers, or those who want a really good laugh. Bianca is one of those characters that will be hard to forget. Combine this with great writing, and a very engaging and hilarious plot and you’ll get a novel that will want to make you finish it in one sitting.