Monday, November 8, 2010
I purposely waited three days to review The DUFF by Kody Keplinger.
Why? Because I was afraid my post would read like this:
Ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh oh my…
Yes—it was that freaking good. Like The Hangover good.
People that know me know I love, love, love to read and there are a lot of awesome books out there. But my friends also know I’m not a “leftover” girl—meaning I do NOT read books twice. Not Twilight. Not even Harry Potter. Books just aren’t as “fresh” to me the second time I read them. There are only a few good ones out there that I’ll give a second read and usually not for months after I’ve read it the first time—you know—when it might feel fresh again.
Um… I read The DUFF two times already this weekend… and am seriously about to pick it up for round three.
First, let’s start with the title, shall we? The DUFF. In case you didn’t know what a DUFF is (I, the clueless wonder, did not), DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend.
Designated Ugly Fat Friend
Yep—pretty much had me at hello.
Second, there’s the premise. Allow me to share the inside cover…
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 “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out 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.
I started to read it and couldn’t put it down. I was immediately vested in Bianca, in her snarkiness and her humor. And then I meet Wesley Freaking Rush and decided life could do without me for a few hours. And while I knew what would happen to the two of them, I had to find out HOW.
And the HOW… Oh my freaking gosh.
Oh, just take my word for it… you need to read this book.
Third—the whole DUFF thing got under my skin from the moment Wesley explains the degrading nickname at The Nest, the local teen dance club.
“ No offense," Wesley clarified. "It’s not like you’re an ogre or anything, but in comparison… Think about it. Why do they bring you here if you don’t dance?... Look, you have hot friends… really hot friends.” He paused, watching the action on the dance floor for a moment before facing me again. “The point is, scientists have proven that every group of friends has a weak link, a Duff.”
And it made me think? Was I ever the DUFF? I mean, I wasn’t overweight or unattractive in high school but did you need to be fat and ugly to be the DUFF? And did I have my own DUFFs? People I subconsciously included in my circle of friends that would make me look good?
Every teen, heck everybody, is insecure about something. Usually—a lot of things. I don’t think we go out of our way to surround ourselves with people who make us feel better about our own insecurities, but it happens.
Throughout the gripping tale, the concept plagues Bianca too. She wonders if she really is the DUFF. Or are her friends DUFFs? She looks at her classmates with new perspective and eventually comes to a most settling conclusion: that we're all DUFFs. And that's okay. Because every DUFF has a friend.
Finally, this book is REAL. It’s about REAL teens with REAL teen issues. It explores body image, sex, and family dysfunction. And it addresses what can happen when you try to run from your problems instead of facing them head-on.
Kody Keplinger is an exceptional writer. She moved me in every way I was supposed to. I cried. I laughed. I exploded into a ball of fire whenever Bianca did. Heck, I wanted to throw my Diet Coke at Wesley through the pages of the book. And Bianca and her friends emote, walk, and talk in true seventeen-year-old fashion.
Kody Keplinger GETS teens. And she should — she is one. Kody Keplinger wrote this phenom novel when she was a senior in high school - not even two years ago.
And just in case that didn't immediately cause you to apparate to the nearest Barnes and Nobles, here's another add to the Kody fabulosity - she was born legally blind.
Yep - she's amazeballs amazing. Just like her book.
PS - just like The Hangover, the book does contain its share of sex and language, but trust me - it's soooo worth it. This book is probably one of the best books I've read in a long time.
Move over James Patterson. Take a hike, Nicholas Sparks. I got a new fav author now.
And I can't wait for Kody's next one.