Sunday, 29 March 2015

REVIEW: THE DUFF - KODY KEPLINGER

*THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO ME BY THE PUBLISHER VIA NETGALLEY, THANKYOU! THIS DOESN'T AFFECT MY OPINION IN ANY WAY* 
INFO
TITLE:  The DUFF
AUTHOR: Kody Keplinger
RELEASE DATE: September 7th 2010, movie released April 6th 2015
PUBLISHER: Hachette childrens books
PAGE COUNT: 280
GOODREADS: x

SYNOPSIS
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of a man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush, who calls Bianca the Duff - the designated ugly fat friend - of her crew.
But things aren't so great at home and Bianca, desperate for a distraction, ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a secret enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly wrong. 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.
With a wry and tell-it-like-it-is voice, New York Times Bestselling novel The DUFF is a witty and poignant story of a teenager struggling with the rules of high school attraction, along with the breaking down of her relationships with family and friends. It is a novel about what it means to be sexy, in a world where we feel we have to be perfect!
MY THOUGHTS
My expectations for the DUFF were, admittedly, low. I'm not usually a massive contemporary fan, there are only a few brilliant ones that have reigned over my favorite fantasy picks, and the synopsis just sounded cheesy. 

With all that in mind, I actually ended up really enjoying it! So much so that I stayed up until three in the morning to finish it, and I am a girl who values her beauty sleep. It's definitely not the best quality book, but if your looking for a fun, entertaining read this just might be for you.

Bianca Piper is my spirit animal. She was snarky and cynical and I found myself really relating to her. She made some really questionable decisions, but somehow I could always tell where she was coming from. Wesley was interesting to read about, and he did make me laugh a few times, but he wasn't interesting enough to redeem himself from being kind of a douche bag. Honestly, I felt him and his behavior were kind of romanticized and it made me a little bit uncomfortable. Can we just all agree never to  call anybody the DUFF, ever? Because of the way he treated her for most of the book I found it hard to like Wesley and Bianca as a couple, even though they did have some cute moments.

The rest of the characters, namely Bianca's friends Jessica and Casey, seemed pretty cliched and one dimensional. They both started off as stereotypical giggly High School girls, and they finished as stereotypical giggly High School girls too.  The characters I were most interested were probably Bianca's parents, and the story of their divorce added some much needed depth to the book. In fact, that was one of the aspects that I really enjoyed (Not enjoyed. I do not enjoy people's messy divorces, but I can't think of a better word) reading about. 

I'm pretty sure this book was written when the author was a young teenager herself, and although that's a really impressive fact I did feel that it showed through in the writing.It did read a little bit juvenile and the use of abbreviations sometimes got on my nerves. I'm a teenager myself, and the majority of people I know just don't talk like that. The writing did fit the story overall though, so if you're not looking for literary brilliance it probably won't bother you too much.

As the for the plot, I didn't really think there was much of one.It was just Bianca dealing with what was going on with her life and her relationship with Wesley, which could get repetitive and slightly boring at times. Bianca's home life was the bit I was most interested in and I thought there was a good balance between that and her love/friend/school life. Overall it was a fun story line, but it wasn't particularly eventful.

Quick content warning: Bianca and Wesley have sex. A lot. There's nothing really explicit and it didn't bother me personally, but be aware that it's there. Again, this got a little bit repetitive after a while. There's also some strong language, but I don't think it's any worse than the majority of YA books.

One thing I did enjoy in this book was the friendship between Bianca and her friends. It was just nice to see girls who had each others backs and were loyal even when their friendship was tested. 

I thought, just from seeing the movie trailer and reading the synopsis, that I was going to find this book offensive. I thought that the message was going to be that you should totally change for a guy, even one who thinks it's okay to call you the designated ugly fat friend. Thank God I was wrong. In fact, I actually ended the book feeling quite empowered and was happy with the message it sent out overall (despite Wesley's questionable behavior). I can't comment on the movie as it's not out here yet, but if you think the same thing that I did I wouldn't let it stop you from reading the book.

IN CONCLUSION
If you're looking for a serious work of literary genius, the DUFF is not for you. It's cheesy and cliche and doesn't have the best writing in the world, but overall it did keep me entertained and I ended up really enjoying reading it. Look out for a movie review some time in April!












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