Customer Reviews for

The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Fresh new story, snarky-smart characters, minor caveats

Bianca Piper's two best friends are gorgeous, but that's never bothered her. She's brilliant, cynical, and wiser than her buddies and they all support and care for each other, so the prettiness contrast isn't an issue until resident ladies' man Wesley Rush tells her to ...
Bianca Piper's two best friends are gorgeous, but that's never bothered her. She's brilliant, cynical, and wiser than her buddies and they all support and care for each other, so the prettiness contrast isn't an issue until resident ladies' man Wesley Rush tells her to her face that's she's their DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Wesley also has the nerve to tell Bianca that by showing sensitivity and deigning to talk with her, he's upping his chances of seeing some action with her friends. Needless to say, Bianca shuts him down, and rightly so, but as her home situation gets sadder and more complicated she finds herself drowning her sorrow with none other than Wesley "Womanizer" Rush.

I was delighted by the portrayal of Bianca's relationship with her friends. At first, I was of the opinion that Bianca was basically doing them a favor by hanging out with them, since she's intelligent and practical, but in short order I saw that Casey and Jessica weren't at all ditzy. They balance Bianca's snarky view on life, and together they achieve a balanced group dynamic that's very believable and fun to read. I could see myself reading a book with either Casey or Jessica as the protagonist; that's how fleshed-out the characters were.

I wish Wesley had gotten more development. At first, Wesley came off as a wonderfully calculating and shrewd jerk, and I was ready to see him humbled and looking forward to plenty of battles of wits between him and Bianca. Unfortunately, the terrific tension and verbal sparring in the early chapters seems to wane with time. Wesley seems most like a 3-dimensional character in the first thirty or so pages, then when he and Bianca fall into an enemies-with-benefits arrangement, he loses some vitality. Yes, plenty of attempts are made to give him a more rounded character--his love for his little sister, standing up for Bianca, showing some intellect regarding an essay assignment--but the initial spark was gone. Maybe I just want my YA couples to move more slowly?

One other thing I had trouble with was the way Bianca kept using Wesley. She loathes him partly because he's an egomaniac, but mainly because he's wildly promiscuous. The trouble is, she thinks that his low moral standards make it perfectly okay for her to use him whenever she happens to need a distraction. Now don't get me wrong, he's totally happy and content with being treated this way, but I couldn't help but be disappointed that Bianca followed the "he's a total skank, so I can treat him any way I want, and it's fine" philosophy.

On the upside, The DUFF explores lots of important ideas about self-respect and self-worth. I love the assertion that basically everyone has felt like the duff of their group before--every girl (and guy) feels like they're lacking at one time or another. It's very empowering and encouraging.

Bianca's narrative voice is funny, sharp, and smart, and with the exception of the difficulties with Wesley, I really enjoyed the book. I'll definitely be looking forward to future writings from Kody Keplinger.

posted by Tiger_Holland on October 23, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

bookittyblog

The Duff was a fast read but not my cup of tea. I wouldn't recommend this book to young adults because to me it just doesn't give any positive advise to teens. It doesn't make sense that Bianca had sex with Wesley just to escape form her problems at home. The guy wasn't...
The Duff was a fast read but not my cup of tea. I wouldn't recommend this book to young adults because to me it just doesn't give any positive advise to teens. It doesn't make sense that Bianca had sex with Wesley just to escape form her problems at home. The guy wasn't even nice to her, at one point he called her fat and ugly. I wished she had loved her self more and had a bit more self worth. I know this is just a book but there's teens out there that would think that sleeping with a guy will fix their problems.

I recommend this book to ADULTS that like fast paced books.

posted by bookittyblog on July 25, 2011

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