Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Review: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date: April 5th 2012
My rating: 4.5 stars



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. And eventually, through this realization, Bianca begins to see how harmful her unhealthy way of dealing with her problems has been, and finds a way to confront them head on.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into The Duff, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to be left with a big goofy grin on my face throughout. Keplinger in the past has been able to change my assumptions and feelings I have held for characters before and was able to do it once again with The Duff. Wesley is presented as a womaniser, he’s always got some girl draping off his arm or clinging to him. The thing is Wesley knows he’s hot; he’s not shy about blabbing about his past experiences, he has confidence oozing off him. Normally characters like Wesley I can’t stand, but for once I decided to give Wesley’s character a try, maybe there was more to him than the cocky full of himself guy that we were seeing all the time.

His first encounter with Bianca wasn’t the greatest; he basically disses her in his first few words that come out of his mouth. But like I said despite him being a jerk, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and he does end up being helpful to Bianca in more ways than one. Bianca reminded me of myself at times; always bottling up her feelings, telling everyone she was fine when she clearly wasn’t. And I really did feel sorry for her, she had great friends in Casey and Jess and a great dad, but when some crap thing happened in her life things just got worse and worse and instead of asking for help or sharing her problems with friends, she needed some other form of stress outlet and that’s where Wesley came in. Their sort of relationship escalated really quickly, but to be honest I loved every second of it. It was fun after the first few encounters to see how Wesley and Bianca would cope with it all at school and when other people were around them, Wesley was his usual cocky self, which made Bianca and me laugh, as I knew it when these two were finally alone they couldn’t be able to keep their hands off each other. Some would say Wesley and Bianca would be two characters that you wouldn’t ever suspect of being together, but once they started spending more time together, you could see that they had a lot more in common; stuff happening at home that was hard to explain to others. But once they started talking more I’m glad that they were able to be there for one another. I especially loved being able to see this different side to Wesley, this caring softer side. I like Bianca was quickly able to realise which way their relationship, (could you even call it that?) was heading. And I was all for it, but I at the same time I understood her reservations about it, I wish that she had handled it differently (highlight to view spoiler) instead of running away from Wesley and making out with Tucker to try and forget Wesley, because it was clear to me exactly how Wesley felt.

Despite the numerous bumps along the way I loved the character growth that both Wesley and Bianca went through especially Wesley. I liked his cocky nature at the beginning of the book, but some of his sweet gestures later on were to die for. Wesley and Bianca definitely left a great impression on me with this story, but I’m glad that Keplinger also included some great secondary characters such as Jess and Casey; not only were they great friends to Bianca, but they were also great friends in that they always spoke the truth, more so when Bianca needed to hear it the most. Keplinger once again was able to mix up well in The Duff, there were some emotional tough issues that a lot of our characters had to experience and it was hard at times having to see characters which had quickly become my favourites in a small amount of time go through this. But Keplinger really did deal with these serious issues really well. I also loved seeing when some of these characters were able to get through these difficult times, as then they were wonderful, bubbly, happy, funny characters that could have you bursting out laughing in an instant.

The Duff was a book which I had on my top pile for the longest time, I’m grateful for finally giving it a go, as I know now that it will become one of those books that I shall be reading time and time again. Now all I need is The Duff movie to be released in the UK as I need to see this movie like now!




34 comments:

  1. Oh Jasprit!! You've finally read it and I'm so so glad to see that you loved and enjoyed it too! And isn't Wesley just cute and swoon-worthy? Heh. Fantastic review!

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    1. Thanks Eunice! Yes Wesley is just the best, I can't believe I put off meeting him for son long!

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  2. YAY! I'm glad you loved this.

    I watched the movie over the weekend (I'm cheeky, I know) and I really liked it. VERY different from the book – they changed a lot of things about Bianca's family and also her relationship with Wesley, so I think of it more as 'inspired' by the book, rather than based on it. It's a good little film if you enjoy it for what it is :D

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    1. I still didn't get the chance to watch that trailer properly, but I'm glad that you ended up liking the film despite so many differences from the book, I've been on a bit of run with book to movie adaptations, so I'm hoping that it'll be another one that I enjoy!

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  3. SO glad you finally read AND loved The Duff, Jasprit! I had read this book when it first came out and loved it too. I remember very well that I had a goofy grin plastered on my face as well. I cannot wait to watch the movie! I hope against hope it gets released here in India. *fingers crossed* Nice review!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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    1. Thanks Sarika, I hope it gets released over there too, I think its set for release in April, so I have quite a few good movies to look forward to! :)

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  4. Wesley was definitely the kind of jerk who grew up. I had no idea you hadn't read this book, Jasprit, but I'm glad you gave this a shot and loved it. I enjoyed the banter and the nature of their relationship too. And that letter at the end? *SWOON*
    I can't wait for Kody's Lying Out Loud to be out! It's going to be wonderful.
    Lovely review, Jasprit!

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    1. Oh my gosh I totally forgot to mention the letter, that just about broke my heart, I loved it! The character growth was one of my favourite aspects alongside all the swoon! ;) Yes I can't wait for that book either, I don't think the wait is that long either

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  5. It sounds so promising to see these two characters grow a lot as the book progresses. I've heard from somewhere that this is one of those few NA reads that really portrays what late teens go through realistically and beautifully and heart-rendingly. I can't wait to read it and watch the movie as well. The trailer was hilarious!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. Yes definitely Faye, Keplinger did an excellent job portraying teens realistically, she focused really well on some of the problems they had to go through, as well as mixing it up with a lot of fun too! I hope you end up enjoying the book and the movie :)

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  6. I still haven't gotten around to reading this one either and with the movie out, I am really want to. I am so glad that it was a feel good book, I really need to get it read.

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    1. Yes you do Heidi, it touches upon both deep, meaningful issues, but is also a feel good book too!

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  7. YEAH JASPRIT!!! It's been a while since I've read this, but you just reminded me of everything I loved about it and it makes me crazy happy when other people love a certain book as much as I do. Definitely looking forward to seeing the movie!

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  8. I'm glad you really loved this one. I did too, but it's been awhile since I've read it, so I might need to try a re-read soon.

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  9. Gorgeous review Jasprit :D So happy that you ended up loving this book :) I have heard about it a lot. But.. not a book for me. And aw. SPOILERS: Running away and making out with someone else? UGH. I would hate this book, lol :D But I'm still kind of curious. Maybe one day :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts sweetie. <3

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  10. I feel bad for DNFing this one but that all aside I really couldn't connect with the main character. She was too reckless for my taste and it really bothered me. Still I'm so happy you enjoyed it. Great review, Jasprit :)

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  11. Its been quite a while, but I remember enjoying as well. Are you going to see movie?

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    1. It's not out over here until April, but I'm definitely looking forward to watching it!

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  12. Ok, so Wesley is the type of YA guy I've begun to shudder over. I just can't stand the player who knows he's awesome, especially when he changes his ways for the "right" girl. BUT I've heard such great things about this story and I'd definitely like to give it a go sometime. I think I'll have to consciously give him the benefit of the doubt, like you did. I'd also like to meet Bianca, and see their relationship build how it does. I've heard the movie is quite different though. Have you seen it?

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    1. I know what you mean Lauren, I don't normally like my characters like Wesley at all, but I have the feeling that he will totally win you over with this book too! The film isn't out here until April, but a few of my friends have already seen it, they did say they were a lot of changes from the book, but they still enjoyed it, I hope that this is the case for me too, as normally I can't stand a film which digresses from a book too much, especially if its for one that I've loved!

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  13. I am so glad to see I'm not the only one who has had THE DUFF on my TBR pile for forever! I want to read it, and it looks fantastic, but then I get distracted by all the shiny new books out there! After your review, though, I'm determined to read it AND SOON!

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    1. That's great Caryn! I hope you do read it soon and end up enjoying it! :)

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  14. Ohh, sounds like you quite enjoyed this one - I do want to check it for myself and see what is all the hype about. Wonderful review <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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  15. So glad you loved this one, Jasprit! I loved A Midsummer's Nightmare when I read it last summer and I've been wanting to read The Duff ever since then. Nothing better than a book that leaves you with a big grin on your face! :)

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  16. Lovely review, Jasprit! I've heard so many things about this book, but have been scared to give it a try because of the whole set up and Wesley's character... I think you've convinced me that I need to give him a try! It sounds like their romance is very genuine and builds well. :)

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    1. The build of the romance and the growth of the characters was definitely my favourite aspects of the book! I really hope you end up enjoying it too when you give it a go! :)

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  17. I can already see how Wesley would get on my nerves, but I loved Daemon from the Lux series and he was a jerk in the beginning too and I'm a fan of hate-to-love relationships, so I think I'm gonna give the book a shot. Glad you enjoyed it, Jasprit, great review!

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    1. Love-hate relationships are usually my favourite kind too, so here's hoping you enjoy this one too! :)

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  18. I must say, I did enjoy this one. I know it has some problematic elements, but overall I thought it was pretty realistic, with some great humour thrown in for good measure, and a romance that made me smile. Lovely review!

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  19. Okay, I didn't love this book but I think it's because I wasn't in the mood (as happens with a lot of contemporaries). Perhaps I should give this another shot -- I've heard the movie was cute!

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  20. So glad you enjoyed this one! I need to read it soon, this month has just got away from me with the book club but planning on fitting it in next week in time for the movie! I adore great character development and relationships that clearly grow so this sounds perfect for me!

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  21. I love this book! Even though it's cliche (I've read plenty of books with that kind of plot), somehow Keplinger's writing style made me enjoy it. Also, I hear that the movie is good, even it's pretty different from the book.

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  22. I know this book since I started blogging but I still haven't picked it up! After reading your review though, I think I am missing out big deal! Should definitely read it soon! :) :) x

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  23. Blah, I've been a bit ambivalent about this book for ages now. Something just doesn't grab me about it.. maybe I need to rethink.

    The film looks AWESOME though & I adore Mae Whitman :)

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