The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
The DUFF (otherwise known as The Designated Ugly Fat Friend) is story of a teenage girl written by Kody Keplinger. Bianca, the main character, is a high school Senior content with her life. She has two best friends, a mother and father who both seem to be happily married and initially there doesn’t appear to be any problems with her typical American suburban life. This perception is quickly turned around in the early pages of the book.
Her parents aren’t as happy as it first seemed. Her mother files for divorce and her father is a recovering alcoholic. Her previous love returns to town and then cue the high school hottie, Wesley. Wesley, is the typical high school player. Every girl falls head over heels for him and he can get any girl his heart desires. Bianca has no desire to get to know Wesley but this is made all too difficult when he calls her the DUFF – the girl who is “ugly” in comparison to her friends and isn’t quite up to the standards set by her friends. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that she was being used or undermined by her friends. This was simply an observation made by Wesley which seemed to haunt Bianca for the duration of the story. The insecurity felt by Bianca really rung true to real life and made it relatable for girls everywhere – me included.
The way that she deals with the problems currently present in her life was to block it out and simply defer her energy elsewhere. In this circumstance it was to strike up a purely physical relationship with the boy who triggered her insecurities – Wesley. This may not seem like a conventional way for someone to deal with their problems but it seemed to work for her. Even though their relationship was love/hate, at times it was nice to see Wesley stand up for her when appropriate. In the end you really begin to admire Wesley as a character.
There are moments in the story where you laugh, you cry and stay up all night to know what happens next. In fact, I was so eager to know what happens next in their turbulent lives that I did stay up all night and neglected to complete my ever growing pile of school work. I’m especially eager to read Keplinger’s other work and if her other books read as well as this I will be a very happy chappy!