Book Review: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Title: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

Author: Kody Keplinger

Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy

Release Date: September 7, 2012


Book Summary:

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.

This book was decent.  I was expecting it to be more fluff than what it was – in fact I would say there wasn’t really any light-hearted fluff in this at all.  The story follows Bianca around – who is cynical and outspoken and, well, downright negative.  She has decided that dating and falling in love in high school is just ridiculous.  She also seems to be a bit of an outsider.  Her friends are perky and nice and all around typical teenagers, while Bianca hates going to the teen club they go to dance at, she looks down on people, and really would just rather be at home.  Despite this negative review on her, I actually related to her and her situation.  I understand the need to escape and I didn’t really find the typical teenager events interesting either.

This book explore the idea of using someone to escape the hard times in your own life.  What could happen and the consequences of them.  What would happen if you cut yourself off and didn’t share your stress and worries with your friends.  What happens if you decide to ignore the fact that there are problems at home.  What happens when you decide to give up on the “escapism” and go with the safe option.  Now mind you this book doesn’t provide any real life lessons, it simple follows a typical teenager’s life and how she answers these questions herself.

The end is a little rushed – we must get to point B so lets just have these two people give up and there we go we’re at B.  It’s almost like the author realized that the book could only be so many pages and needed to get the ending as soon as possible.  Also, there is way more swearing than there needs to be.  I realize that it’s a more natural way for the characters to speak because – lets be honest – that’s how majority of teenagers talk, but I still felt it was unnecessary – and at times it hindered my reading experience since it felt like it was every other word at times.  Also, at first, it felt like there was sex just to have sex in it.  There was no reason the two characters needed to have sex – although after a while you realized it was escapism again.

Despite this somewhat negative review, I still liked the book.  The writing flowed nicely and I did enjoy the story.  I related to it because I understand the need to escape – especially during high school – to feel like everything is against you (despite them being minor in the grand scheme of things in my case) and just needing an outlet.  It was a quick easy read and it was a nice break from the Sci-Fi books I’ve been reading a lot of lately.

I would recommend this only if you are ok with a large amount of swearing.  If you like realistic high school experience books then this one would work for you too.  Just need a break, this one isn’t a horrible pick.  I just wouldn’t suggest running out and buy this one, but if you happen to come across it and can borrow it, then it’s a good one to get.

Rating: 3/5 – Worth reading if you have the time

Content: strong language throughout (including f***); strong sexual material; alcoholism; one instance of violence (alcohol related incident)

Source: Library Copy

This book can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chapters Indigo


  1. I love the cover of this book! It sounds like something I might like too :).