Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Contempo-May Review: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

In One Line: When the High School Hottie calls Bianca the Designated Ugly Fat Friend, she gets angry, and you don’t want to see Bianca when she’s angry... 
Genre: High School Heart-break (with added sexytimes)
The Gist:
Oh Bianca, Bianca, Bianca. She’s your average moody cow, with teenage angst seething out through her pores. Plus the hottest and douchiest guy in the school has called her The Duff, which basically translates as the girl who makes her friends look prettier. Or, for guys, the girl you have to befriend in order to get to the pretty girls. So hearing this from Wesley ‘douchebag’ Rush pretty much sends Bianca into a hormonal tailspin, plus she’s got enough to deal with a home, what with an absconding mother and a recovering alcoholic father. So when Bianca gets paired with Wesley for a school project, what would you expect her to do? Slap him round the face? Do that prank that ends with him standing naked in the road in the middle of the night? Oh no no no. This girl isn’t messing. She’s got a little itch that Wesley is going to scratch - RIGHT NOW. 
The Cover:
This cover is pretty iconic. It’s been around in the states for a little while and FINALLY it’s over here, and I’ve seen it crop up a few times in my ‘suggested reads’ list on certain internet retail sites. So I welcome this cover with open arms. It’s yellow, it punches you in the face, and I’m ok with that. I also love the fact that it’s blatantly Bianca on the cover, although she never blows bubblegum in the novel, there’s just this sense of ‘Yeah? So what?!’ that transcends the image. 
Why You’ll Love This Book
  • Open and frank acknowledgement of teenage sexytimes. If you can’t handle a seventeen year old coming to the quite reasonable realisation that she Just Needs To Get Laid, then this book isn’t for you. Bianca is forward, brash, and knows what she wants and how she likes it. Deal with it. *fistbumps Bianca*
  • Wesley Rush. One of my favourite kind of romances is the good ol’: But I hate him! But I love him! But I hate him! But I love him! kind of romances. This is one of those. And the way that he falls so hard for Bianca before either of them even knows what’s going on? Totally, undeniably, HOT.
  • Bianca. She is a total, crazy mess. But I love her. I love her loyalty to her friends, I love her no-nonsense feminism, and I love her vulnerability, which she hides behind a mask of bitchy grumpiness. I see through you Bianca. And I adore you. One day, you might even rule the world. 

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • Kody Keplinger was just seventeen when she wrote this novel. And this makes me insanely angry. Actually, if I was being totally honest, it makes me insanely jealous. Because she’s actually quite good. Even so, knowing that an author is that young can colour the writing, and I would understand some people who would dismiss it straight away just for this reason. I would say give it a shot. It’s not groundbreaking work, but it’s great fun, and well written for what it is. 
  • Originality. I cant help but feel like I already know this story. And apart from that first moment when Bianca lunges at Wesley, which honestly took me by surprise, this book is really, really predictable. But sometimes that’s the point of rom-coms right? You always know that the main characters are going to get together, it’s just the How that keeps you reading or watching. 

The Hypersomnia Test:
Not only did this book help me through the sleepytimes, it also helped me through a strange hour where I was stranded in rural Shropshire. Plus the progression from mildly aggressive sexytimes to beautifully romantic sexytimes kept me thoroughly glued to the pages. In fact, I was really surprised by how quickly I finished this novel. I wanted more dammit!
Final Verdict:
So this is pretty much your typical teen easy-read - perfectly enjoyable, fun and enlightening. Will it win any major awards any time soon? Probably not. Will it make you stand up on your desk and shout ‘I’m a DUFF! We’re all DUFFs!’ - maybe. This book isn’t the deepest of creatures, but I definitely had one hell of a great time with it!
Further Reading:
Fixing Delilah - Sarah Ockler

To buy The Duff click HERE!!!


  1. This might be one of my favorite reviews of this book ever.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. Wow thank you! Do you rep Kody?

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I'm so glad that it's being published here :) Yay for Bianca and Wesley and all the sexytimes!

  4. This book is everything I'd hoped for and then some. Bianca is intelligent, strong, fierce in that `I'll give you a verbal beatdown' kind of way, yet she is wholly and entirely flawed. She has sex, repeatedly, with a guy who called her a Duff - with someone who tears her down all the time with a degrading nickname. All the time she spends with Wesley makes her open up to him, and him to her. The two aren't really that different from one another and maybe, just maybe there could be some feelings other than hatred and lust there.

    Aside from Bianca's complicated and illicit after school activities, she has to cope with a mother who abandoned her and a father that seriously cannot cope. After 18 years of sobriety, a sudden divorce sends her father on a downward spiral and sooner or later, Bianca's dysfunctional home life and her dysfunctional relationship begin to crash together. The ending is somewhat predictable, but getting there is the best part.