Book Review: The Duff

So, Sunday morning I started reading a book. I’d picked it up from the library nearly a week before, and my sister Elizabeth had read it on Saturday night. She said it was good. Since I couldn’t get into Delirium (I’m going to give it another shot, but so far I’m just not into it), I picked up THE DUFF.

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 “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that 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.

I picked up this book hoping for a quick, cheerful, feel-good story (think Ex-Mas by Kate Brian). But The Duff was so much better! I completely adored Bianca’s entire personality. She was intelligent, funny, spunky. She was sarcastic without being jaded (I see so much of that in the books; it’s just depressing). I kind of feel bad, because I was always calling her Duff/Duffy in my head instead of Bianca. But after reading all the way to the end, I kind of thought of Duffy as a title to wear proudly. Whole other story.

Anyway. The characters in The Duff get a 9.9/10. No Mary Sue’s or Gary Stu’s. The complexity of each character was refreshing. Best thing ever: there was no cliche mean cheerleader that played a part in the plot! Oh, yeah! Major kudos to Kody for that.

But my absolute favoritist thing about the entire novel was the emotional response it was evoked. Bianca never had to say “I felt such-and-such” because her every action and every word and every thought had already spelled it out for me. I was so into the novel, and I understood what was happening, and why Bianca did the things that she did. during the whole novel, I was cheering wildly for her. But as the end drew near, and she started to figure things out, it was really heartwarming.

As far as setting, mechanics, and such go, they get big shiny tens. But the thing that really made the novel shine was the characters. Which, of course, would hardly have been visible if it was bogged down in crappy writing. Fortunately, no crappy writing ever appeared in The Duff.

Now that the gushing is over…

The Duff is definitely not for younger audiences. I’d put the limit at sixteen and older because of language mostly. There was the occasional fade-to-black bedroom scene. However, I still have to highly recommend the book because it was awesome and I enjoyed the whole thing. As soon as I have book money, I’m buying my own copy.

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