Reagan Urbanec's Reviews > The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
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Aug 19, 10

Read from August 18 to 19, 2010

Why I read this: I thought the title was really unique and captivating. I also loved the fact that Kody was 17 when she wrote this - very impressive.

Plot: I was very impressed with the plot; it was paced perfectly. It grabbed my attention from the beginning and held it throughout. I found myself tearing up, laughing out loud, and smiling inward and out. One of these moments was towards the end of the book, I finished the last chapter during DEAR at school, and my face lit up and I couldn't help but smile. Of course there were a few students watching me and asked what had happened in the book I was reading. They couldn't believe that a book could be "good enough" to cause that kind of reaction.

Characters: I found Bianca's character to be forced in the beginning while I was still "getting to know her." It seemed like she was being cynical just because she wanted attention or to be "that person." Once I realized exactly why she was the way she was I found myself connecting, not relating, with her. Wesley's character I thought was developed very smoothly, I would have just loved to learn more about him earlier in the novel.

Relatability: I couldn't relate to either Wesley or Bianca's family situations or lifestyle choices, but as an educator I believed in the situations because I know that happens. I think the kids that can relate will be inspired by both Wesley and Bianca.

Cover: Very interesting and eye catching.

Random Thoughts: I'm torn. This was a fantastic novel. I loved the story and the characters. I haven't felt those previously mentioned emotions towards a novel in a few months. It has FANTASTIC tone, just unbelievably real and honest. I would love to tell my kids about Kody's success and how I think it's great that the characters actually SOUND like high school students. I want to share this book with my students more than anything.

BUT.

Because the tone is so real and honest, there's a lot of swearing. I don't think it detracted from the story at all, I never felt it was overly excessive. When Bianca was mad or upset, of course the "bombs" were flying everywhere. But, as a first year teacher, I'm not sure I feel comfortable putting it on my shelves. Is this crazy? As teachers - what do you think? As teenagers - what do you think? As parents - what do you think?

I think my struggling readers would love to have a protagonist they can so easily relate to and who sounds like them. But, I just don't know.

There's also quite a bit of sex (am I the only who didn't have sex in high school?!?). It is very modest and subtle - no "groddy" descriptions. Again, I think my students would like something this real and true to what high school really is - but I'm worried about parent reactions. This would be a lot easier if it wasn't such a fantastic book! What do you think?

Final Thoughts: Regardless of whether or not I bring this book into the classroom, I will be keeping it for my shelves. A fantastic read that I recommend for any mature reader (just maybe not those I'm directly responsible for).
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08/18/2010 page 107
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