Monday, 9 June 2014

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Bianca Piper is too smart to fall for the charms of a man-slut and school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, she hates him. But things aren't so great at home. Desperate for distraction, she ends up kissing Wesley and throwing herself into enemies-with-benefit 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 the most.

I have a short interest span. I can’t keep reading a book beyond 50-60 pages if it doesn’t pull me in by then, unless it’s for college assignment. So a book that keeps me up for a whole night ought to shoot up in my favorites list. And this one did.

Bianca is like any other insecure teenager who has her fears and preconceptions that she isn’t beautiful enough. But she wasn’t always so insecure. It is when the only dashing, cocky guy in college she hates calls her a duff that she starts to look at her body in a new, gloomy light. She notices everything she doesn’t possess— great body, long, skinny legs, pretty face.

Wesley Rush, I hated him in the beginning. A cocky guy who thought too highly of himself and didn’t believe in chasing girls because— duh— girls chased him. But Bianca’s presence subtly changed him in the most believable way and we got to see his nicer, deeper, hidden side. The ‘changed Wesley Rush’ was a really irresistible guy.

Toby Tucker falls in the ‘good guy’ category who as sad and clichéd it sounds, ends up last. He’s gentlemanly, who doesn’t snicker or looks to check when a friend makes a joke about his girlfriend’s boobs and takes things slowly. He maintains limits while kissing, he looks out for his girl, takes her to nice dates.

In short, very unlike Wesley.

He is in his own way very attractive. He might not have abs or the charm that sweeps a girl off her feet or leaves her feeling dizzy, but he is just the person who you want to spend your life with. He is loyal, affectionate and extremely intellectual.

The book was extremely well written. I almost longed at one point to have written it. Character development is bang on! At the end of it I knew the side character of Casey and Jess just as well as I knew Bianca or Wesley.

Lessons learnt: 
It’s more than just a romance story between two people who are opposites. It shows different angles of a teenager's life.

Words and name calling hurts no matter how unintentionally you toss it around. And the ones that are casually tossed hurt more than the ones meant to sting.

Every teenager has insecurity, everybody has screwed up and in a way everyone is a duff if compared to someone else. It's only a matter of time and maturity that one learns to shrug these titles off and learn to forgive oneself for past slip ups.

And lastly, looks never define you.

Without spelling out these lessons, the writer has rather easily weaved those into the story.

Suitable for: Parents and teenagers alike. For teenagers to have a laugh at their life and learn from it and for parents to know their kids better.

PS: Watch out for the movie. The rights have been sold to CBS films.

*Spoilers* Places where I went frenzy (either laughed or cried or swooned):

I officially fell in love with Wesley when he sent that note to Bianca after a series of insults and flings. ‘Wesley Rush doesn’t chase girls, but I’m chasing you.’ *sigh*

The bouquet and letter Wesley sent her was a gesture well done.

When Toby asked her about prom and she screwed up by saying she hated it and then he said ‘too bad coz I was hoping to ask you for it.’ So funny.

When Cassy made a joke about the ‘padded bras’ I almost fell out of seat laughing.

When Bianca poured her heart out to Wesley and said that the word 'Duff' hurt her, I cried at that.

Stars: 4.5/5

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