Kody Keplinger was still a teen when she wrote her bestselling young adult novel DUFF that has now been turned into a motion picture! It is an amazing success for such a young age and inspiration for youngsters, who should try and write, if they feel like it! If it is their calling, after all, it doesn’t matter, if it is good or bad story, as long as people read it and the author can develop writing and become better and better.
The DUFF is shorter for “Designated Ugly Fat Friend” and the book is based on the premise that each group of friends have one and that makes the rest of the people look better. The protagonist Bianca is seventeen years old and her life has been completely fine, until of course everything starts to crumble to pieces. Wesley Rush, school’s womanizer marks the start of her life changes and it seems like Bianca can’t run fast enough to outrun all her sudden adult/friend/child responsibilities that haven’t been trouble so far. It is a story of romance, family, friendship and coming of age.
As one might predict, this is one of those books that I feel like I will hate, before even reading it, yet, I didn’t. I started to read it on the plane and it sucked me in, but the flight wasn’t long enough, so when I picked it up again at home, I read it all in one sitting. Sure it is a cliche with unrealistic events, yet I shamefully have to admit that I did like it.
What I disliked is how unrealistic all the things happening in this book were and it did give me trouble to process it and understand where exactly I stand on this, but then again, I am not a youngster anymore and perhaps in America everyone fucks everyone in high school. Sure some of it happened in my time too, but really, this was too much.
The descriptions of characters were quite vague, we mostly got to know Bianca and Wesley, but I felt like the drama with B’s friends was not played through enough. What I mean is that I didn’t get enough of descriptions of them to really understand their personalities and why would a friend that is pissed off just start to sit somewhere else and ignore you. I mean, friendships that has lasted more than ten years is a bit above that – you don’t give up that easily on your friends unless you actually don’t want to be friends with them anymore. So it was weird to see this coldness from Bianca’s friends.
I also had trouble with the weird cheerleader/duff story and the girl they saw and felt like they needed to save her. It struck me as out of place and seemed that the author could have made the same points by not including the girl in the book at all. (It also seems really weird, because we don’t know her name or really – anything about her.)
Wesley was my favourite character – bad boy with some good traits – everyone’s love, yet I know that he as a personality is not really possible in the real life, unless of course Bianca is smoking hot (and spoiler alert, she actually is smoking hot, forget all the fat and duff talks), which means that actually this book is just about hot girls who think they’re ugly.
Toby was my least favourite character and I don’t think I need to explain why.
This book made me think a lot about my life and I often wanted to punch Bianca for stupidity (like saying that everything is fine with dad or ditching boys that she likes) and yet I thought about myself and, if someone would watch my life as a film, would they be able to see the right things to do? Yet I didn’t and did the wrong things, so would they want to punch me? Does Bianca seem stupid just because I can see all her situation from afar?
Oh, and the sex scenes were described so little, that I was curious why they were in there at all. I mean, I get that one or two might be in there, but if they are all described pretty much in the same way, it is equivalent to just saying: “They had sex.” I don’t know, if the author actually had had sex when she was writing this, but if she had, it seems like she was ashamed of it. If she didn’t – well, she should have done a bit better of a research.
It was a really fast and easy read and although I mentioned some bad points here, I didn’t notice much of them, because it was so easy to slide through the book. The writing wasn’t too bad, considering that it was a teenager who wrote it and I smiled quite a few times about the jokes the comments that were included in this book.
But this was the first time, when I was looking for an author in order to write a review, I saw her pictures all over my google search and actually started to think why did she write this book. But I won’t talk about that, because I don’t know her life story and might be judging or praising the author with no reason. Yet, it is one of those books, I would like to analyse and see the reasons behind it.
I didn’t really know what to say about it when I read it, but now, it seems like I have so much to say. Sure it is a classic cliche for teenagers and youngsters (mainly girls), but I still enjoyed it. I don’t think it deserves as much hype as it has, but I am glad that I read it. It received three stars from me on my goodreads page and I have not seen the film yet. This book I would only recommend to girls who like cheesy things. And perhaps to those a bit introverted ones especially. I am not really sure, how it works on actual teenagers, but I know that I didn’t compare myself to my friends in school and I couldn’t even tell if they are beautiful or not, because I loved them and they were perfect for me. Well at least I didn’t choose friends by beauty, but by the connection we felt. It is definitely not an adult reading material though, so no need to jump and buy it!
It did push me to read some more young adult/teenage romances and I believe that I might regret it soon and turn away from them again, but it definitely seems easier than facing that War and Peace that sits on my shelf with it’s over 1300 pages. Yep, lazy…