Thursday, January 29, 2015

In Case You Missed It - The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Published: September 2010
Publisher: Little Bown/Poppy
Pages: 280
Copy Provided by: Borrowed from a friend
Summary: Goodreads

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.

Have you ever picked up a book only to be much more entertaining than you ever thought it would be?  The Duff was one of those books for me.  I'm sorry to say this but I was expecting something a bit shallow, easy to read and quick. Instead, I found it to be rather thought-provoking.  I enjoyed the characters and I'm sorry that I waited so long to read this title.

It spoke volumes of the stigmas attached to some of the names we give one another, especially in school as we are trying to discover our own identities.  DUFF was just a nickname, or so Wesley thought.  But to Bianca, it meant something different. She took it to heart and began acting in a way to reflect that name. Perhaps Wesley did as well.  When his grandmother assumed he was a womanizer, he started to act in a way that reflected this.

Bianca went on a journey in The Duff and I was glad to be a part of it.  Although...I wish she would have talked to her friends (Casey and Jess MUCH sooner).  True friends don't care about the labels and they would have squashed Bianca's insecurities quickly without a second glance.

In high school, during adolescence when there are so many cliques and people at trying to figure out who they are, this book is particularly relevant.  It addresses issues of self-identity, peer pressure, sex, friendships and self-image.  Looking back, I do think that this title would make an excellent ISU and I would go so far as to suggest it be required reading material for a pre-teen/teen audience because I feel that many students could identify with the characters presented. 

What I love is that The Duff is coming out as a film this year.  That is what prompted me to read this title (which has been on my TBR list for 4 years).  The movie is coming out next month and it looks pretty good.  My only reservation in seeing it is Ken Jeong. That guy drives me nuts...and not in a good way.  The movie plays up the funny references in the book which could take away from some of the more serious topics in this title.  In the end, what if we gave ourselves and others more positive identities, nicknames and values?  Would we live up to those images?  My take on The Duff?  I'd read it again...and of course recommend it to just about every teenager that I know....


  1. My exact same thoughts! I've read this few years back and thought it was one of the books that I would love to watch a movie adaptation for. I'm really happy that the movie is coming out soon! LOVE everything about it. Thanks for sharing! Love your review!

  2. I had this on my TBR but never got around to it. I got to go to an advance screening of the movie last week and really liked it. And honestly, Ken Jeong has a mostly small part, but I thought he was funny when he was in it.