The DUFF – Kody Keplinger
Release Date: 4th April 2012
Edition: UK paperback, purchased copy
Other Titles by this Author: Shut Out, A Midsummer’s Nightmare, Goldfish (TBR)
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper knows she’s not the hottest girl at school, but when school jock and resident moron Wesley casually refers to her as a Duff – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – the gloves are off!
If there’s a thin line between love and hate then Bianca has crossed it. She just never thought she was capable of breaking anyone’s heart...
Kody Keplinger’s debut has had a reaction akin to that of Marmite and I’ve wanted to get my hands on it for a while purely to see which camp I feel into. And just like Marmite, I love it.
The idea of a DUFF – designated ugly fat friend – is an awful and completely terrifying concept that you just know originated in a high school somewhere. It’s also one of those things that once you hear it, you’ll never forget it and will instantly conjure up instances when you’ve felt exactly like the DUFF. And I’m pretty sure that’s not just me. With this, Kody Keplinger really hammered home a message about labelling and name-calling and just how damaging they can be to the person they’re directed at. She managed to not make it preaching, but a natural realisation that Bianca herself had as she accepted the reality that everybody feels like a DUFF to somebody.
While reading The DUFF I was captivated by Kody Keplinger’s stark and honest prose. she takes a no-holds-bar approach to depicting the Bianca’s exploits which means that strong language and sexual situations are rife throughout the novel, and this, I think, is what put some people off. I loved it. It was brash, hard and so realistic, not only for teenage life but also for Bianca’s character – it was her voice and it rang true.
I’m not quite sure why, but I wasn’t expecting The DUFF to be such an issues novel, but of course it was. Keplinger covered alcoholism, divorce, absentee parents, the damaging high school caste system and teen sexuality through Bianca and Wesley. The stress and pressure of their situations made both of them, naturally, a little bit difficult. Bianca is hardened and refuses to accept that she has feelings and Wesley can be a major jerk, but as I got to know and understand them, I grew to like them both. I was a little bit disappointed that I didn’t love them, though I did develop a slight crush on Wesley by the end of the novel...
The DUFF is a brave and engaging debut and I can’t wait to read more from Kody Keplinger.
I purchased this copy myself.