The Compulsive Reader: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger

Bianca Piper has always felt out of place next to her shining, tall, and beautiful friends, and isn't quite as social as they are. So when popular and rude Wesley Rush calls her the DUFF—Designated Ugly Fat Friend—of the group, she's hurt, but certainly doesn't let it show. She hides all of her insecurities and problems (like the fact that her mom is never around and her dad can't deal with his divorce without alcohol) behind a cynical attitude. But then Bianca and Wes are assigned to work on a school project together, and despite the fact that Bianca despises him, Wesley is proving himself to be quite an excellent distraction.

The DUFF is a very blunt and open read, and Bianca is straightforward, and her sarcasm and witty quips will entertain more cynical readers. She is a mature character in that she knows how to take care of herself, and she realizes that a lot of practices and traditions that go hand in hand with high school are somewhat ridiculous, but her disdain for them comes close to being obnoxious, and her caustic attitude toward practically everything does get a bit tiring. However, the pressures she feels from her parents' issues and her conflicting feelings and confusion towards them do ring true, and are well portrayed. Though the storytelling is pretty solid, the dialogue seems a bit flat and forced at time, especially when any of the characters are trying to be sincere.

However, the biggest issue I had with The DUFF was the fact that the "distraction" that Bianca sought out, mindless, meaningless, and continuous sex with Wesley, was essentially romanticized. I appreciate that the issue of impulsive hook-ups is addressed (since it does happen quite a bit), but I believe it to be a lot more serious of an issue than Keplinger ever treated it to be. With the exception of a few brief pages in which whispers of a pregnancy scare circulate (not Bianca's, of course), Keplinger doesn't bring up any of the more serious consequences of casual sex, including damage to the physical and emotional health. Instead, Wesley is the uncaring player turned perfect boyfriend, and Bianca sticks with him, without a break in their sexual relationship. I don't think that this is a realistic relationship, nor a healthy one, and it can give a lot of readers the wring idea about healthy ways to deal with problems in life.

All in all, The DUFF ends happily enough, though the resolutions to all of Bianca's problems seem to be too easy and too simple. Still, anyone who has ever been frustrated by high school or felt like the designated ugly fat friend of their group and wished to be something more will most likely be able to relate to Bianca.

Cover Comments: I like the way the title descends down the page, and the bright yellow that the letters are written in. It will definitely be eye-catching!

ARC borrowed from Shanyn of ChickLovesLit.com!

The DUFF will be available on September 7th, 2010.


Shanyn said...

I love your description of your feelings about this book. Much better than I what I was able to do!

Sara said...

Interesting... I loved it. Am definitely buying it for myself, my sisters, and my friends. Buuuut... I have a unique view of sex that many don't share. Well, except my sisters and my friends... Ha.

Anonymous said...

Good review, doesn't sound like a book for me, though, but I like your review, very clear.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

I had many similar feelings towards this book as well. Thanks for you review.

Midnight Bloom said...

Thank you for such an honest review! :)

Sarah said...

It's disappointing to hear that the book does has it's fault, but then again no writer is perfect. Thanks for the honest review!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I understand what you meant about the relationship...just from what you say, I don't have the book...but I do think it sounds interesting and worth a read.


Katelyn said...

Great review, I was lucky enough to get on a tour for this book a lil while ago and just loved it, I thought it was a fun read and enjoyed it the whole way through!

Loraine said...

You have a nice review! Here's mine: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-duff-designated-ugly-fat-friend-by.html

Thank you very much, have a nice day! :)