The Duff by Kody Keplinger is most definitely a book I would recommend for others to read. Right now.
A bit about the book:
It follows the cynical and opinionated seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper, after high school man-slut Wesley Rush tells her she’s the DUFF(Designated Ugly Fat Friend). Bianca hate’s Wesley. Like, HATES him. Even more so after he informs her of her Duff status. Life isn’t going great for Bianca though, with trouble at home and her own personal insecurities, so she is desperate for a distraction. Wesley just happens to be there at the right moment and quickly becomes Bianca’s distraction in a mortal-enemies-with-benefits relationship. Things start out great, but quickly go downhill when Bianca begins pushing her problems and friends aside. She also begins to realize that Wesley isn’t quite the awful human being that she had always thought he was, and she might even be starting to fall for him.
This book is definitely an easy read, I was able to finish it in just a few hours. At times it was a bit too easy to read, and felt a bit childish, like Keplinger was trying too hard to make it a 1990s high school rom-com. This didn’t happen often enough to downgrade the reading experience though. Sometimes the cheesy writing worked. For instance, my favorite passage was toward the end of the book and came from the main character, Bianca, “Note to self, I thought. Murder Jessica when there are no witnesses.” I want to forever remember this line so that I can use it sometime! The only other issue that I had with the writing was the overuse of cuss words. Not that I’m a prude, it just sometimes felt that what the characters were feeling could have been expressed more eloquently. I personally feel that using cuss words often is lazy writing.
The message that The Duff brilliantly delivers is that it doesn’t matter who you are or what names people call you. What you are is enough. Everyone feels like the Designated Ugly Fat Friend sometimes. Everyone feels dumb, awful, insecure, slutty, insignificant, and a million other things, and that is ok. If you are happy with yourself, why does it matter what anyone else thinks or says about you? Keplinger did a beautiful job of telling readers this in her book. It’s because of this wonderful message that I was more than willing to overlook any flaws while reading. This is a story that needed to be told, a point that begged to be addressed.
The characters were very well written. I especially enjoyed that there wasn’t really a ‘bad guy/girl’. Sure, Wesley started out in that role, but it was quickly revealed there was more to him under the surface. Every character in this book had flaws, but they also had really great qualities too, the same way people in real life do. It made them all very relatable.
Overall, I very much enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to reading some of Kody Keplinger’s other works. I will definitely read any other books with Bianca and Wesley in them!