What YA I’ve Just Read: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
The DUFF. The Designated Ugly Fat Friend. This debut novel by Kody Keplinger deals with what’s it like being called the DUFF and then falling for the very guy who called you the DUFF. Bianca Piper is cynical and lonely. And she thinks her best friends are beautiful and she is not. When Wesley Rush, a notorious flirt and hook-up king, gives her the nickname of the DUFF, Bianca hates him for it. They develop a love/hate relationship that ends up developing as Bianca and Wesley learn more about each other.
As a girl who felt like the DUFF in high school, I think every girl feels this way at some point—that her friends are prettier and that she’ll be alone for the rest of her life. (Especially when her friends are all stick skinny.) I thought Bianca was funny, smart, real, and just like most of us did in high school, feels ugly. Her relationship with Wesley develops naturally and I even grew to like Wesley (which is saying something since he came up with the disgusting nickname).
The only moments that I thought were unrealistic were Bianca’s moments with her alcoholic father. Those family moments wrap and resolve rather quickly for someone who has been sober for so long.
What I enjoyed the most was seeing Bianca grow up and the bond that she has with her “prettier” friends. The girls are real friends and their relationship makes the book more than just an “I-feel-ugly” story.
I highly recommend THE DUFF. Kody’s second book, Shut Out, is due out September 2011. I’m looking forward to reading more from this young, talented author.