Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Duff [ARC Review]

Title: The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
What They Say: 

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.  

What I Say:
So, this is the first ARC I've ever gotten to review, so I was excited to be delving into a book before its release date (September 7, don't forget!) Being an 18-year-old author, Kody Keplinger provides her readers with a refreshing, genuine teenage narrative and a snarky yet impactful storyline. That said...

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Plot: ooh
Bianca is the Duff of her group of friends, says Wesley Rush one night at the local teen club. The Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Bianca hates Wesley. Popular, good-looking, slutty Wesley. But the more she thinks about this Duff thing, the more she believes it. With two gorgeous blonde best friends, how can she not? She knows she'd never have a chance with a guy like Wesley - not that she'd want one - which is why when things start going downhill at home, she shocks herself by kissing him. The kiss is the perfect distraction, and she finds she wants more. One hookup becomes two, becomes three, becomes an almost daily thing for Bianca and Wesley, but she never forgets her guidelines: he is the playboy, she is the Duff, and neither of them has feelings for the other. Or do they? Also, what will Bianca do when her secret life begins to distract her from a new real relationship with someone else?

I just plain old liked this story. Sure, it's all laid out for you and the back cover pretty much gives away the ending, but I think the author knows that. This point of this story isn't if Bianca will get from A to B, it's how she does it. Knowing how it would turn out, I found myself wondering after each new element was introduced, How are they going to end up together after this? While this story probably encourages those (usually) annoying girls who think they can "change" the bad boys in their lives, I enjoyed this book too much to rant and rail about it.

Characters: wow
Oh, Bianca.  I love a solid, level-headed, snarky protagonist. She reminds me a bit of myself, and I'm sure any teen reader will see some part of themselves in her as well. Bianca is presented with hurdles in her life, but does she whine and cry and scribble about it in her diary? No, she deals with them (though one - not me - could argue the intelligence of her choices). Personally, I think YA lit could use more Biancas and fewer Bellas.

Wesley is sold to us right away as the arrogant jerkass, which he is. But (at the risk of sounding horribly cliché) there's more to him than that. Keplinger writes Wesley as Exhibit A to the argument that a person can be more than one way. It's sounds so simple, but people seem to forget it. Wesley's a jerk, but he's also compassionate. He's a bad guy, but he's a good guy, too. Just like all of us, and everyone we know,

Relationships: wow
Bianca and Wesley - While I wouldn't call it (at first) a relationship so much as a string of relations, you can't deny that these two kept me turning pages just to see how on earth they could end up together at the end. They'll have a conversation and I'll think, Oh, here's the turning point, and then a few pages later they'll push each other even further away. You start to lose hope for them after a while, haha.

Bianca and Toby - These two are the model of the perfect relationship, or what would be perfect for Bianca, before her relationship with Wesley begins to change her way of thinking. While this relationship isn't the most interesting in the book by far, it shows Bianca (and the reader) how her idea of perfect isn't the same as what she really wants.

Parting Quote:
 "I told you, I'm awesome at everything," he [Wesley] teased, putting the PS3 controller on the floor between us. "That includes video games."
... "Not fair," I muttered. "Your sword is bigger than mine."
"My sword is bigger than everyone's."

1 comment:

  1. I keep hearing things about this one that makes me want to read it, although I'm still not 100% convinced it's my type of book. Fun quote though, and great review.