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.
I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages but now it’s been released in the UK, it seemed like the perfect time. I have to say that I’ve seen some appalling reviews for this book – some are downright rude and I don’t really know why as I enjoyed it!
You’ve heard of friends with benefits? Well, this is enemies with benefits. Bianca believes she is The Duff (Designated, Ugly, Fat Friend) in her social group and ends up getting it on with the biggest player in school as a way of making herself feel better and distracting her from all the shit that’s going down at home. Like all relationships that try to be purely about the physical, somewhere along the line, feelings creep in. There’s a fine line between love and hate.
Bianca and Wesley are basically using each other but they’re both upfront about that and it’s consensual so I don’t see a problem with that apart from the fact that Bianca needs a good old healthy dose of self esteem and I can guarantee she won’t find it in someone else’s bed. The sad thing is, Bianca is smart and witty and isn’t afraid to tell you what she thinks. There’s no way she’s kissing anyone’s arse, especially not Wesley Rush. Which is why it’s such a surprise that they end up together but they see it as meeting each other’s physical needs. As the story progresses, they end up helping each other emotionally too. The only thing I didn’t like was the way Wesley referred to himself in the third person but it was necessary to show us that the name, the brand, the reputation that is Wesley Rush is someone else and not the real him.
The Duff is full of snark and smexy times but it’s not just superficial. As Kody explains, Bianca finds out that EVERY GIRL has felt like The Duff at some point or another and I can testament to this. Us girls are full of insecurities whether the world likes it or not I’m afraid but I guess it’s what you do about it that counts. What I like about Kody’s novels is that whilst I wouldn’t say she courts controversy, she is definitely not afraid to write a story that’s edgy and full of issues that some people perhaps would rather weren’t talked about. For this reason alone, I will be looking out for her future books.
The Duff was published on 5th April, 2012 in the UK and 7th September, 2010 in the US. To find out more about Kody and her books, please click here to visit her website.