“Calling Vikki a slut or a whore was just like calling somebody the Duff. It was insulting and hurtful, and it was one of those titles that just fed off the inner fear every girl must have from time to time. Slut, bitch, prude, tease, ditz. They were all the same. Every girl felt like one of these sexist labels described her at some point.”
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 “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out 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.
Highlight for spoilers.
The DUFF is a really enjoyable book but unfortunately it didn't manage to get close to a five star rating, and I partly blame the hype for that. I went into this book expecting something awesome, and then I got out of it asking myself why is this so popular? Don't get me wrong, this novel is by no means a bad book but in my opinion there are definitely better written books out there with far more exciting stories.
Bianca is a character who I liked but couldn't relate to. She was childish, judgmental and on many occasions acted stupidly. Furthermore, she did things that were in total contradiction with what she said or thought previously. For example, she states that she is not interested in high-school romance moreover she thinks that one can only love someone after years of being together. However, a few pages later the reader can see that Bianca's had a crush for years and she would be the happiest ever if that guy asked her out. Now how is this?
I know that the being judgmental part is treated well in the novel later on but I hated how Bianca thought about her friends. She was seriously freaked out when she realised that her best friends might think of her as their DUFF, meanwhile she was totally judging them, and everyone else, by how they had fun, dressed and I could go on.
"Once again, Casey and Jessica were making complete fools of themselves, shaking their asses like dancers in a rap video. But I guess guys eat that shit up, don’t they? I could honestly feel my IQ dropping as I wondered, for the hundredth time that night, why I’d let them drag meg here again."
Despite this, I really liked the friendship between Casey, Jessica and Bianca. I think I liked Jessica the most from the three girls, mainly because I kinda felt like Casey and Bianca left her out of many things. What I liked in Jess was how supportive she was in the end, while Casey... not so much. My biggest problem with Casey was how some of her actions, like abandoning Bianca just because she avoided them, seemed out of character and not like the girl we got to know in the beginning.
And then we get to my most hated part of the novel: Wesley Rush. He had absolutely no original characteristics, he was a terrible cliché of the high school jock who's a total asshole but is still loved by everyone. And obviously, he falls for the heroine (who he constantly puts down throughout the novel) and changes his ways completely. Did I forget to mention that he has family issues and that's why he's a total jerk? I can't even tell you how disappointed I was in his lack of originality.
I mentioned before that I love when the parents are a huge part of a YA novel. I'm sad to say that while Bianca's parents were greatly involved in the story I feel like their issues weren't properly treated. Bianca's mother sent the divorce papers without a word, even though she knew that her husband had problems with alcohol in the past. One moment Bianca was furious at her, and the next the whole thing was completely forgotten. Furthermore, the father's problems were not treated the way I wanted them. He got off alcohol in a freaking day, after feeling guilty for something he said/did. I'm pretty sure this is not that easy. I think, the parents rather than adding something to do story, took away a lot from it.
The romance... I didn't like the love triangle at all, and was mortified when Bianca started to think about her life as if she'd been Catherine from Wuthering Heights. It felt forced and nothing like I thought she'd do in such a situation.
The DUFF is quite an enjoyable read, even though my review doesn't exactly showcases that. I gave four stars first but after thinking about all the things I didn't enjoy I lowered it to three. Recommended for those who're looking for an easy read, with (sorta) likable characters.
The story idea: 2/5
The realization of the story: 3/5
The characters: 3/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5