Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bookanista Review: The DUFF, by Kody Keplinger

So, it's Thursday, which means it's time for another Bookanista Review (for those of you scratching your heads wondering what a Bookanista is, you can find out more about us here.) And this week I have the privilege of talking about The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger.

The DUFF is Kody's debut novel, and it's scheduled for release on September 7, 2010.


Check out the striking cover:



Here's the description from the publisher:

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 "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that 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.
Obviously I loved the book--since we Bookanistas only talk about books we love. But not for the conventional reasons.

Yes, the writing is top notch, the characters are real and honest, and there's a love story that was surprisingly touching--considering the premise. But what I really loved is the way Kody tapped into the insecurities all girls struggle with, no matter how pretty or plain they are. It took me back to the emotions I felt in school when I was The Duff (no really, I was. I went through the mother-of-all-awkward phases from about age 11-14. I have the pictures to prove it, but I'm not quite brave enough to post them.)

And I loved that Bianca didn't have some magical make-over to suddenly feel better about herself. Sure, she started paying a *little* more attention to her appearance, but what really changed was her attitude. She found a way to be comfortable in her own skin, to be comfortable with who she really is, and to let herself have what she truly wants.  All of which are things I STILL struggle with sometimes.  So it's more than just a page turning story with a ton of heart and humor. It resonates on a slightly deeper level, and I highly recommend it.

One tiny note: The DUFF does contain some mature subject matter--and I'm not going to get into the debate of whether teens should be exposed to that. But I will say that the content is not glamorized, and is true to the character, and it's up to each individual reader (or their parents) to decide if the content is appropriate for them.

For more information about The DUFF, or to pre-order a copy, click here. And check out these other awesome reviews by my fellow Bookanistas:


If you would like your ARC to be reviewed by any of the Bookanistas, please email one of us and we'll see about adding it to our list.

Happy Thursday everyone!!!

27 comments:

  1. Shannon, I loved your review. Oftentimes, I find a character changes in a way that's too abrupt or unbelievable. It's good to hear that the MC in The DUFF had a realistic trajectory. I will be looking forward to this one!

    Thanks,
    Marissa

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  2. Great review. I've heard such good things about this book. I really want to read it. And I too had a very awkward and so hard life as a teenager. I bet I'll be able to relate.

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  3. OMG...I love the name. I would pick it up just based on that! One top of that, it sounds like a really good book. Thanks for sharing!

    ~JD

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  4. That sounds awesomesaucage! I will def put that on my list.

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  5. This one has been on my Must Read list for a while. It's had TONS of buzz and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I'm glad it's a good book too. Thanks for the review

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  6. Thanks for your review, Shannon. I've heard a lot about this book. I think it sounds interesting.

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  7. I've been hearing such good things about this book! I think most of us have felt like The Duff at some point, and I'm glad to hear that Bianca learns to be comfortable in her own skin as opposed to changing everything about herself. Great review!

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  8. This one is definitely on my wishlist - it sounds terrific!

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  9. You're not brave enough to post pix, but you can post cupcake fail??? lol!

    I'm really looking forward to this book. I'm also really interested in the fact that Kody herself is a teen.

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  10. I have heard a lot of good buzz about this book. I plan on reading it as soon as it's released!

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  11. Awesome review, girl! I can't wait to read this book.

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  12. Superb review, Shannon! I think we all go through those awkward phases and insecurities, so a book like this feels so relatable. I'm looking forward to diving into it soon.

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  13. Super review. Love books that take you back, even if it's painful.

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  14. Great review. There's been a lot of buzz about this one on the internets, I might have to check it out.

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  15. I love this book for so many reasons that I couldn't possibly have enough time or room to list here probably. Totally agree with you though. It rocks!

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  16. I cannot wait to read this book! And Kody is a total sweetheart in real life:-) Glad you liked it!

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  17. Great review! - I am DYING to read this one too!

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  18. Yeah, I definitely think you need to post those pictures...

    <3

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  19. Happy Thursday!

    Thanks for the review! I haven't heard this book but it sounds fantastic.

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  20. I don't know what Duff (or Duffy) means - but apart from that this sounds like a fab story with a feisty well rounded MC!

    Take care
    x

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  21. Cannot wait to read this one!!!!!! And it comes out the day before my birthday! Yay! Happy Birthday to me!

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  22. i think she handled the sex topic appropriately for the story! It was very well-done! good message - i would actually want my teen to read it.

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  23. I love books that are real enough that we can relate to them. And didn't we all go through that awkward phase? Thanks for a great review!

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  24. I have to read this book! Another reason to look forward to September! Thanks for the cool review.

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  25. Thanks for the review! I'd been wondering about this book and am glad to hear good things.

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  26. my dog has her walks. Until I read The DUFF, Mockingjay was the last book I read under such conditions. I wasn't content until I knew what happened to all of the characters.

    I'm afraid that The DUFF will be a book which a lot of people read one chapter of, and then put down. It quickly becomes clear that this is a book that has a fair amount of teen profanity and sex, and at first, the characters don't really seem all that likable. Bianca is excessively cynical, kind of untrusting, occasionally makes poor choices and is selfish, while Wesley is womanizing and also selfish. Yet by the end of the novel, the characters were what I liked most about this book.

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Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3