Review of The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

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Review written by: Jessica C.

One of the most refreshing things to find in a YA novel is a character that the reader can relate to, and an author that writes characters near her age. It was a pleasant surprise after reading Kody Keplinger’s biography that she was a girl in her 20’s writing about high school students. While I cannot say that an author being close to the age of her characters helps the reader identify with the characters, it certainly helps.

The DUFF I found was a book that I could relate to. Bianca reminded me of myself to the point I found myself questioning if maybe I was indeed the DUFF of my group in high school. Bianca is a sarcastic, realistic, brutally honest girl surrounded by her bubbly, energetic, and of course beautiful friends. Bianca is of course oblivious to the fact she is the DUFF of her group until she gets to know Wesley, and he brings it to her attention. The term and realization by Bianca starts her interaction and eventually a unique relationship and interaction with Wesley, who she swears she cannot stand. Okay, I confess, she swears she hates him.

The reader knows this is so far from the truth… but hey… let’s let Bianca stay jaded.

The DUFF is dappled with characters that come to life on the pages. Bianca’s friends are those that a reader could easily identify as someone they used to know or someone they used to be friends with. Wesley is the typical heartthrob jerk that all the girls love and that Bianca loves to hate. However, the longer she gets to know Wesley the more she begins to realize that he isn’t all that he seems.

I loved the fact this book had so much snark and possessed a character that wasn’t your typical run of the mill heroine. The fact each character had a flaw a reader could relate to is something I appreciated. Divorce, break ups, the identity of self, and feeling needed and wanted were just a few of the things the characters confront in The Duff.

This book isn’t the typical ugly duckling gets the guy kind of book. Every day problems that a young adult deals with are peppered throughout the book, giving the reader the reassurance they are not alone. No matter how pretty or perfect everyone has a flaw. Everyone is a DUFF… and that is certainly not a bad thing.

The DUFF was a refreshing book to catch up with come the start of spring. It has depth without suffocating bleakness, and positive notes that don’t seem artificial. I am glad that I caught the preview for the movie because it made me all the more interested to check out the book. I’m glad I did. Hopefully I can say the same for the movie if I get the chance to see it. For those that enjoy The DUFF, Kody Keplinger has recently released a new book LOL (Lying Out Loud) which features Wesley’s sister Amy. I hope you enjoy this little step back in time to the high school years as much as I did. Till next time!

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