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Hamilton High #1

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

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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.

280 pages, Hardcover

First published September 7, 2010

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About the author

Kody Keplinger

20 books6,770 followers
I'm a 19-year-old college student and young adult author. My first book, THE DUFF, debuted on September 7, 2010. I write books for teenagers and strive to be honest and true-to-life. For more info, check out my website.

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
February 18, 2015
They're making this book into a movie. So, naturally, I had to read it.

The word that first comes to mind when thinking back over this book is messy. That's how I would describe it. It's entertaining in parts, annoying in others, and sends out a confusing mix of messages.

“I actually need your help. You see, your friends are hot. And you, darling, are the Duff.”
“Is that even a word?”
“Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend,” he clarified. “No offense, but that would be you.”

This above exchange takes place between our narrator - Bianca - and Hamilton's resident notorious manwhore, Wesley Rush. Bianca responds to the insult by doing what any self-respecting woman should do and throwing the nearest beverage into the douchebag's face. However, being a teenage girl with all the insecurities that go along with that, Bianca can't quite forget what Wesley called her.

Then she has issues at home. Her mother is away most of the time and her dad is a recovering alcoholic on the brink of a relapse. With all this happening, Bianca longs for a way to "escape". She needs something to take her out of this world, numb her mind and make her forget who she is for a little while... so she sleeps with none other than - you guessed it - Wesley Rush. I get it: the girl has serious issues. No judgement, we've all been there.

So here's where things get a bit messy. I know this will be especially enjoyable for girls in their teens - just as the author was when she wrote it. I remember the days when I would read this:

“On one side, I had Toby. Smart, cute, funny, polite, sensitive, and practical. Toby was perfect in every conceivable way. I mean, he was a little dorky, but that was what made him so adorable. I liked being with him, and he always put me first.”

and this:

“On the other side, there was Wesley. A jerk. An asshole. An arrogant, womanizing rich boy who put sex before everything else. Sure, he was incredibly hot, but he could annoy the hell out of me. He was irritatingly charming, and his cute little grin could really get under my skin. But he had a way of making my heart race and my head spin.”

...and my heart would race for jerkface too. Then, of course, Bianca had to compare Toby and Wesley to Linton and Heathcliff, which is really just very unfair.

I think this is one of those books that was evidently written by a teenager; an extremely talented teenager, I'll give her that (I couldn't have done it at 18/19) but a teenager nonetheless. Some annoying dialogue aside, the writing itself is decent, but there is something about this story, the relationships in it and the way it portrays feminism which is incredibly immature.

When I was in my mid-to-late teens, I had discovered feminism but wasn't quite sure what it meant in practice. After writing essays on Margaret Atwood novels, I'd decided I was a feminist but it took years and my time at college to fully understand it. While I was in high school, I hated double standards and yet was probably guilty of believing in some of them. Stereotypes had been drilled into my brain and I often forgot how stupid they were. I wanted to be a feminist; I wanted to write a great piece of feminist literature; and yet, I still succumbed to my own internalized misogyny. This book feels like it was written by someone with the same issues.

First example: Every girl drools over the hot guys except our narrator. I'm glad that later in the book she learns not to have disdain for them, but it doesn't change the fact that these girls are characterized by their constant thrusting of their breasts into the boys' faces.

Second example: Wesley tells Bianca she is a not a slut because she's just confused and we all make mistakes. I initially appreciated the way the author portrayed teen sexuality without turning it into a lesson... and then it became a lesson. Why can't she just enjoy sex and not be a slut?

Third example: “Brontë?” I asked, seeing the cover of his book. “Wuthering Heights? Isn’t that a little girly, Toby?”
“Have you read it?”
“Well, no,” I admitted. “I’ve read Jane Eyre, which was definitely full of early feminism. I’m not saying that’s a problem. Personally, I’m a total feminist, but it’s a little sketchy for a teenage boy.”

Feminism is a girls-only club?

Fourth example: Bianca ditches her friends as soon as she starts shagging Wesley.

I'm still giving this three stars, though, because it is damn entertaining. The narrator is charming and just enough of a bitch to be likable in that way that makes you smirk knowingly to yourself while reading (we've all had those naughty/vindictive/jealous thoughts too). And when the author is on top girl power form, she comes out with wicked gems like this:

“I’m probably going to be a bitch most of the time. I guarantee I’ll find a reason to yell at you almost every day, and don’t be surprised if a few drinks get dumped on you from time to time. That’s just me, and you’re going to have to deal with it. Because I’m not changing for you or anyone else.”

And the truth is, despite myself, I couldn't help being pleased with how this turned out.

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Profile Image for Lora.
186 reviews1,001 followers
February 23, 2015
A note to anyone who chooses to read the following: I am critiquing this book solely based on the first 80 pages or so as I simply didn't have the will to continue any further.

There are some spoilers, but only for the first 80 pages.

Have you ever been sitting with a group of friends and one of them tells a joke and immediately everyone but you starts laughing? And then you sit there looking like the stupefied idiot who's just not getting it? That's how I felt while reading The DUFF. So many of my GR friends have liked this, and I've read many reviews proclaiming how awesome it is . . . but I just didn't get it. The DUFF has been blurbed by Elizabeth Scott and Simone Elkeles, both of whom are authors that I trust the opinions of. Or rather, did trust.
While I'd like to say that The DUFF starts off good but wanes, it doesn't. The DUFF starts off with Bianca sitting in a club, watching her friends dance while she drinks pop at the bar. Not long after, Wesley Rush comes up and starts telling her how he's interested in her friends, and how she's going to help him make them be the next notches on his belt. (That isn't a direct phrase from the book, just to be clear.) And, to add to the insanity, he also so graciously informs her that she is the DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend.
And so, naturally, Bianca is disgusted with him for this fact and because he's basically her school's male slut. But what happens next is what really had my head hitting the wall: She decides to use him as a distraction (where have I heard this plot line before? Hmm . . . could it be a dime store romance novel? Why yes, that's it!) and kisses him on the spot.
The guy's a brazen asshole who's trying to use you to get into your friends pants—all while telling you that you're a statistically ugly fat chick—and so you decide to make out with him? WTF? No wonder he has no respect for you!

Skip ahead a little ways and you'll find Bianca and her friends discussing Wesley's character and kissing capabilities (you know, since Bianca is an expert in that department now): her friends think that he'd be great in bed, but Bianca thinks that any one that sleeps with him is liable to get an STD shortly thereafter.
Good observation, Bianca—except—it is only around 30 or so pages later that Bianca sleeps with him herself! WTF?
And am I the only one who thinks that the first time Wesley and Bianca are together is maybe even a bit wrongly handled? When Bianca was beginning to think to herself that maybe she doesn't want to have full-blown intercourse with him, and then immediately following that thought she thinks that they are now, in fact, having sex? Again, WTF? I'm not saying that it was rape—since there was no outowards discouragement from her—but, doesn't that seem ridiculous for Bianca to allow him to continue, what with her having those doubts in her head at that very moment? Does she honestly have that little of self-control? self-worth?

And as for Wesley, let me just say this: I love arrogance in a guy (I ♥ Barrons, BTW), but only a certain brand. Wesley's brand of arrogance is obnoxious and deplorable; it's not charming or redeemable in any way to me.

I don't know—perhaps trying to read something like this after having just finished a respectable, well-written novel like Emma was a bad idea, but there you have it.


(And, because I don't like to count DNFs towards my challenge, I'll just say Attempted reading on 6/28/11.)
Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
March 15, 2022
Audiobook 2022
I bought the audiobook. I bought a hard copy of this book. I think I even own a digital copy somewhere out there in the ether. What I'm saying is that I've read, re-read, and re-listened to this book several times.
And I still love it.
When someone asks me what my favorite young adult book is, this one always pops up on the list because, for whatever reason, I just love it.

I am all about the DUFF! Loved it!
I was interested in this books years ago, when it first came out, but then I read some reviews that said it was full of inappropriate sex and promoted low self-esteem in girls.
Unfortunately, I let that scare me off.
I recently noticed that they were making a Movie about the book, and my interest perked up again.
Psst. The movie a very cherry-picked PG version of the book.


This book really struck a chord with me.
Now I'm not going to give you some sob story and tell you that I felt like a DUFF in high school. Because the truth is, I actually had pretty good self-esteem by that point. And the thing is, so does Bianca. At least until Wesley decides to tell her that her friends are the hotties of their group.
And yet, she still sleeps with him.
And I think that's where a lot of readers get the idea that this promotes low self-esteem.
I don't think so.
See, she doesn't sleep with him to get his approval, she does it to find an escape from what's going on in her home life. She figures since he's a manwhore, it's not like a real relationship that she has to care about or foster.
Turns out, Wesley may be sleeping around for the same reasons that Bianca is sleeping with him. And what starts out as Enemies With Benefits, begins to into something more as they get to know each other.


Oh, and speaking of Wesley...
Wesley is a straight-up douchecanoe at the beginning of this book. I wanted to strangle him!
I mean, just wrap my hands around his neck and squeeeeeeeeze.


Which, when you think about it, is sort of a great thing for a writer to be able to make me want to do to one of their characters.
By the end of the book though?
I was like, Girl, kiss him already!


Another big complaint I see is the teen sex in this sucker.
So, if you think teenagers shouldn't have sex in books...don't read this.
However, if you (like me) have some wiggle room in your brain for that, then you probably won't be offended. It's basically fade to black with no details, other than kissing and some heavy petting.
I also loved the fact that she was on the pill and they used condoms every time.
Because yay! for promoting safe sex as the norm.

And as far as the term DUFF goes, I think the author did a good job showing that it's just a word. Everyone feels that way sometimes, and the only real difference between the Plain Jane and the Femme Fatale is the way you feel about yourself.

I received a digital copy of this book for review from NetGalley and the Publisher.
Profile Image for Vinaya.
185 reviews2,090 followers
March 9, 2011
I think one of the worst things that could ever happen to a book is an unsympathetic protagonist. A person would be willing to forgive a lot of things — loopholes in the plot, slow-moving story, clichéd endings — if they fell in love with the hero/heroine. Unfortunately, this did not happen to me with The DUFF.

I read a blog post by Kody Keplinger today where she remarked that a lot of the people who criticised The DUFF did so because of the sex scenes in the book. Personally, I have no objection to sex scenes in YA books. In some instances, I would even applaud them. It wasn’t the fact that the book portrayed teenagers having sex that bothered me about The DUFF. Even though I come from a very sexually conservative culture, I know the reality, and the reality is, teenagers have sex. Maybe not all, maybe not even a majority, but there is no denying that teenagers do have sex. What bothered me more was the way in which sex was portrayed in this book. And, of course, the fact that for large portions of the story, I was tempted to bitch-slap Bianca.

Bianca hates Wesley, the school man-whore who has slept with more women than she can count. He, in turn, insults and hurts her by calling her the DUFF, the designated ugly, fat friend. However, when her parents end up on the road to divorce and everything in her world seems to be falling apart, she finds a way of escaping reality — sex with Wesley.

She gives him a booty call every time she wants to escape the reality of her situation, but slowly she discovers that running away doesn’t really help. In the meantime, of course, she also gets to know Wesley as a person and begins to form a tentative friendship with him. But once she realizes that her feelings for him go deeper than she thought, she breaks things off with him and runs away, yet again.

I admire what Kody Keplinger is trying to do with this book. Bianca spends a lot of time struggling with her self-image, with the idea that she is unattractive enough to be labelled a DUFF. There is also no hesitation in portraying teenage sex, with not only Bianca, but most of the other people in this book also being sexually active. There is a feminist undertone to the last parts of the book, where Bianca reaches a realisation that duff, like slut and whore, are just labels that are created to put women down. But I still feel like this book is sort of teetering on the edge of breaking away from regular YA tropes, without ever going the distance.

Let’s start with Bianca. To be honest, I really hated Bianca. She is the sort of protagonist who makes me want to throw the book away instead of accompanying her on her journey of growth. Bianca is portrayed as a feminist, but she is also a plain, bitter, sharp-tongued, cynical person who has been rejected by the boy she first fell in love with, an incident that also makes her strongly oppose true love, teenage style. For me, this is actually a very anti-feminist portrayal of a ‘feminist’. This is traditionally how people who deride feminism portray a feminist – as a bitter spinster who has given up on men after being disappointed in love. It’s practically a caricature. Despite the fact that Bianca self-deprecatingly calls herself a hypocrite several times in the book, it didn’t endear her to me one bit.

There is also the fact that Bianca ditches her friends in favour of getting laid. Yeah, yeah she needs an escape from her problems, da da da, but the fact is, she put the dick before the chicks. And to make things worse, she actually doesn’t seem to understand why her best friend is pissed when she blows her off, refuses to talk to her, hangs up on her and forgets to hang out with her. Instead of feeling guilty and apologetic, she turns around and calls her friend a bitch and a snotty cheerleader. I’m sorry, am I supposed to like this girl and sympathise with her problems?

Another sore point for me is the issue of avoidance. Being a very head-on person myself, I tend to get annoyed with people, both real and fictional, who bury their heads in the sand. But sometimes I can understand and sympathise with characters who can’t deal with what’s happening to them, like Francesca, in Saving Francesca. In The DUFF, however, I just didn’t get it. Her father is a recovering alcoholic who has fallen off the wagon, and instead of helping him, she just runs away to have sex, and hopes the problem will go away on its own? She doesn’t even try, right up to the end; it’s her father who finally realises how far he’s gone and makes the decision to seek help. This really got my goat; she’s mouthy and outspoken and opinionated, but she can’t sit down with her father and at least try to help him?

And now for the big one, the S E X. I would truly have had no objection to using sex as escapism in this book, if she hadn’t had sex with Wesley. I guess there are people out there who could use sex as a means of forgetting their problems, even if this is not a path I would choose myself. What I really didn’t like was the fact that Bianca re-iterates so many times how much she hates Wesley. She calls him a man-whore and a creep over and over again. She even, at one point, says that his touch makes her skin crawl with disgust. Why, then, would she choose him, of all people to find oblivion with? That not only sounds unhealthy, it sounds like she’s using sex as a punishment. Just once, I’d like to read a book where the sex is not only acknowledged, but is found in a loving, healthy relationship.

I also think Keplinger does teenage boys a grave disservice with her portrayal of Wesley. Maybe all those stories of teenage boys having no discrimination when it comes to having sex are true. But I don’t think anybody, boy or girl will, or at least ought to, have sex over and over again with someone who’s not just using them, but actually hates their guts and insults them on a regular basis. Again, a person who settles for something like that should be in therapy, not bouncing around in bed with their nemesis. I mean, Wesley is hot and popular with the girls. He could definitely find a girl who at least likes him a little and sleep with her. And there is no indication in the book, really, that Wesley has any qualms whatsoever about being used and discarded by Bianca. That’s just so wrong.

Wesley also gets to do his playboy routine with no obstacles whatsoever because his parents suffer severely from the Disappearing Parent Syndrome (thanks for the phrase, Lucy!). Obviously if he had a responsible caretaker, they would insist that he have a curfew, behave responsibly when it comes to sex and ensure that he lives like a teenager, instead of a Mills & Boon hero. Instead, he conveniently has a grandmother who takes care of his sister, rejects him brutally and doesn’t call Child Services on his parents. Please.

The ending of this book was so clichéd, I wanted to barf. Despite being a stone bitch, Bianca somehow manages to make Wesley fall in love with her, gets an easy out from having to decide which of her two suitors to pick and worst of all, manages to ‘reform’ Wesley into a monogamous, loving, romantic boyfriend. And, just to make things worse, Wuthering Heights gets to make an appearance in this pathetic ‘love’ triangle. For a minute I was like, wait, did I start reading Twilight again by mistake? After Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights has got to be one of the most maligned works of literature in YA fiction.

This book had a lot of potential, but it didn’t live up to it. It’s definitely different from the general run of YA literature we read these days, but it got lost somewhere along the way and ended up being a DUFF.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,917 reviews33k followers
February 14, 2015
4 stars!

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I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. Initially, I picked it up because I saw a preview for the film. After reading it, I’m not sure if I’ll go watch the movie. With the way the few clips I’ve seen show, it’s not much like the book at all. And some of the things I really loved about the book seem to be missing from the film… but back to the book! The Duff is a laugh out loud, sweet, sexy, and at times serious read. It’s a book about friendship, loyalty, and even love.

Bianca is the type of heroine I love reading about. The kind thats snarky, outspoken, is who she is and doesn’t change for anyone. She is also relatable. She’s a good friend and a good daughter. And she is the ‘Duff’ of her group, according to Wesley Rush. Wesley is one of the best looking guys at school. A duff isn’t someone who is fat or ugly necessarily, all it means is that out of your group of friends, you may be the least attractive, etc. It’s not a term of endearment, even though Wesley makes it seem that way.

So this Wesley guy… he seems like a total tool, right? Rich, popular, thinks he’s the shit. Well, there is more to Wesley than meets the eye. Wesley’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems. And really, by the end of the book, I completely loved him. Wesley and Bianca’s not so much friends with benefit’s relationship was something that developed over time. At first, it was just physical. A way to escape what they were both going through, but with time, feelings developed. Both characters realized they cared and Bianca realizes that she’s doing the unthinkable. She is falling for Wesley Rush.

If you’re looking for a good enemies-to-lovers story, a story about friendships, finding yourself and coping with the hard stuff in life, this would be a great pick. I loved both of the main characters, and Bianca’s friends were great too! It’s one of the better YA books I’ve read lately, and honestly, for YA it was a little on the steamy side, which is just another plus. I listened to the audio version of this book and I loved the narrator. I thought she captured Bianca perfectly.

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Profile Image for Eunice.
255 reviews524 followers
January 23, 2012
"Wesley Rush doesn’t chase girls, but I’m chasing you"

Oh boy, you don't know how I just swooned at that line! *sigh*

Anyway, Gahd, I love love luuurve this book. I had this on my TBR pile for quite a long time but I keep on passing through it. Seriously, I should have read this a long time ago. But yeah, I guess it's better late than never, right? And I am really glad that I finally read this! This is just so freaking awesome. I'm surprise on how much I enjoyed this book.

I had a lot of fun reading this book, this made me laugh, swoon, and grin a lot! And the characters, though they have their obvious flaws were still really adorable and lovable. Kody Keplinger did a very great job on developing the characters. You'll definitely notice how these characters changed and grew throughout the story, most notably Bianca.

I loved Bianca! Even though she could be a bit whinny and frustrating at times her character was still really lovable and understandable. I don't hate her for her actions during those times when she was trying to escape the problems she had. Even if it was kinda bitchy or slutty, the author was able to make us connect with Bianca and understand what she was trying to do. As the story progressed, Bianca was able to realize things about herself and how to finally stop running away from her problems and face it. It was really amazing how noticeable her development was. She was very different from how she was on the very first part and how she turned out on the last part. Not just the way she acts but also the way she thinks. Her experiences and her past actions did change her perspective in a lot of things in a really good way.

Wesley. All right, he's a jerk and I am very well aware of that but still I really loved this guy! I love how Keplinger wrote his character. She didn't try to gloss his character by being a total good, nice guy in the end just so that everyone would like him. In fact he was still a bit of a jerk in the end but not really in a bad way. But what the author did was to make us understand why he was doing it. And I don't deny that it was still bad and awful but I also realized that it wasn't entirely his fault why he was like that. That there were really big reasons behind it. He did changed in the end, just like Bianca, he finally stopped running away and finally faced his problems. But the witty, overly confident, a bit of an a-hole Wesley was still there - which I really did like.

I always find it hard to understand guys who were like Wesley or to find logical reasons why they were being like that. But Keplinger was able to help me realize that maybe there were really reasons for that - like escaping - and we shouldn't be all too judgmental. I don't say that it's okay for them be like that but maybe we have to be a bit sensitive because at some point we tend to become like them too, maybe in a different way, but still there were times that we all wanted to escape too. They needed someone that would make them realize the things they should really do.

Casey and Jessica, Bianca's best friends were also really lovable. I love Casey for being so supportive and caring. She's the kind of best friend every girl would want to have. A best friend who will always be there when you needed them, who would immediately notice if there was something wrong and would easily lend her help and her ears even if you keep on pushing them away. I love that Jessica was the one who saw that Toby wasn't really for Bianca. That she saw pass Bianca that she wasn't at all happy and that what she really want was Wesley. I would love to have best friends like this two. They're one of the sweetest and most adorable best friends in all the books I'd ever read.

Whoa! I think I wrote a really long review. Haha. But that just means I so loved this book. I really have a lot to say whenever I got so engaged over a book. Over all, this was a very wonderful and insightful read. Not just fun but you'll also get lessons from here. I highly recommend this! A must read! :))

This review is also posted at Book Overdose
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,606 reviews5,990 followers
April 17, 2015
Bianca is out with her two best friends when Wesley Rush comes up to her and lets her know her standing.
"You see, your friends are hot. And you, darling, are the Duff."
"Is that even a word?"
"Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend," he clarified. "No offence, but that would be you."

So Bianca throws her drink in his face.

Then, she goes and kisses him.

I didn't like these characters very much at first. I thought she had lost her ever loving mind. Kiss that asshole that said that? Plus, he keeps calling her "Duffy"

Then after I almost said "to hell with this book" I kept reading. They grew on me.
Bianca decides to use him to forget her problems at home.

So it begins. He still is a bit of an asshole, but he is hot, so our girl B takes what she wants.

She realizes that maybe being the Duff isn't so bad at one point and time.
Benefit one: no point worrying about your hair or make-up.
Benefit two: no pressure to act cool-you're not the one being watched.
Benefit three: no boy drama.

A few things kept standing out to me that kept me from completely falling in lurrvve with this book.
Now I'm not that teenage girl. So well, I didn't like so much of the use of sex in the book to "get rid of stress". I've got kids this age. That I just locked in their rooms until they turn 35.
I didn't understand Bianca being so hung up on Wesley continuing to call her the Duff girl and then she still can't keep her hands off him.
I would have probably kicked him in his nads.

Then the fat shaming. So many times in this book Bianca refers to herself as fat. "her fat ass" is used. But no one else says anything about her weight. Not like.
Dad's falling off the wagon. I don't see anyone especially a teenage girl moving past one of the scenes in this book with no lingering anger.

Then after finishing the book I thought I would look up the movie trailer. WTF? It doesn't even sound like the same story.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,483 reviews7,780 followers
March 17, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/


I kinda LOVED this book. Color me as surprised as anyone else. It seems a lot of people didn't. Here's what I have to say about that . . .

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And also?

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You're right. I'm not!

Talk about a refreshing flippin' change of pace from the regular YA fare. Not to mention this book was written by a fetus. Her momma should be proud!

Kody Keplinger offers up some serious straight talk in The D.U.F.F. Bianca is flawed. She's an asshole. She's your average teen (sorry average teens, but when you grow up you will realize you were kinda assholey every now and again). Bianca isn't above judging a book by its cover - and the awesome part is she totally owns it and also acknowledges that everyone is doing the same to her.

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When Wesley Rush informs her of her "D.U.F.F." status at a party, she does what a lot of teenage girls would do . . .

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And then she bangs him on the downlow. I mean, look at this guy . . .

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Sometimes it doesn't matter if a dude is a total wanker, you still want to make bad decisions with him anyway . . .

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Warning to parents: There's TONS of intercourse in this book. Now, it's the fade to black kind and eventually Bianca realizes that a romp in the hay may not be as simple as being only be a romp in the hay and that she should value her self-worth a bit more and yada yada yada, but this chick does get it on and isn't sorry about it. If you're not okay with that, I completely understand and you should probably see the movie instead. From the looks of things, the book and movie don't have a hell of a lot in common except for the title and the HEA to wrap things up. While the movie appears to have one of these not overused at all type of storylines . . .

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Book version of Bianca is one of these girls . . .

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Therefore, there is NO "mean girl" hassling Bianca in the book nor does she have a problem scoring the guy of her dreams once he breaks up with his girlfriend. In fact, for all of the D.U.F.F. talk, Bianca hangs out with a couple of hotties who never seem to be able to score a date either . . . thus leading to the realization that EVERYONE is a D.U.F.F. sometimes. Heck, look at the H.B.I.C in the movie version . . .

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It wasn't so long ago she could have been considered the D.U.F.F.

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Now, the writing isn't perfect (remember - author is a wee little baby) and I can't give it 5 Stars due to a bit of a lackluster ending, but for a debut? This was pretty freaking solid and I recommend it.

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Profile Image for Inge.
348 reviews892 followers
July 15, 2018
Buddy read with Aly and Figgy.

WALDORF: Just when you think this show is terrible something wonderful happens.
WALDORF: It ends.
- The Muppet Show

Well, I suppose it’s Unpopular Opinion time, seeing as this book has got nothing but raving high ratings with gushing reviews on top. But from the very first page, I got a feeling of dread as I was thrown into the head of one of the most annoying main characters I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting, as well as heaps of ‘Omigosh!’ and ‘WTF’. Safe to say, I didn’t like it.

I get the appeal of a cynical teenager being a main character, but being inside Bianca’s head was awful. She complained non-stop about everything and everyone. Her best friends are pretty and she has a fat ass, school dances are degrading, blowjobs are degrading, Wesley Rush is an asshole (we don’t really know why she hates him so much, other than the fact that he sleeps with a lot of girls, which is really none of her concern), spending time with her friends is tiresome, cheerleaders are bimbos and so is everyone who sleeps with Wesley Rush, her mother doesn’t wear panty hose, and so it goes on and on and on.

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She’s also completely self-absorbed. She hates teenagers who fall in love in high school. She hates Valentine’s Day. Yet what does she do? Completely ignore her best friends, lie to them, keep secrets from them, hang up on them, avoid them… because she fell in love in high school. On Valentine’s Day. Whoops. And then it’s her friends who are being weird when they stop trying and give up on her. “I didn’t know what the hell her problem was.” Oh, Bianca, I could give you a ten-page essay on what Casey’s problem with you was.

Bianca is an annoying, judgmental, hateful, cynical cow who has no qualms with using people. Using Wesley for sex, using Toby to get over Wesley, not taking her friend Jessica seriously because she’s bright and bubbly, calling her other friend Casey a snobby bitch, snapping at them for no reason, … The list does not end with this one.
"People with cancer smoke pot for medicinal purposes; my situation was very similar."

And this is where she completely loses me and I lost all sympathy for her. Yes, what happened with her and her parents sucked. But comparing jumping in the sack with a guy you can't stand to cancer patients? Comparing your love triangle to Wuthering Heights? Get off your high horse, Bianca. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

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I can’t like a book if I don’t like the main character, and I couldn’t stop being annoyed with Bianca. She pissed me off to no end, and I have no patience for pointless drama like that.

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a copy, I’m sorry I hated it with the fire of a thousand suns
Profile Image for Penny.
215 reviews1,367 followers
September 20, 2010
Alright ladies, I've got a question: say you're at a scummy dance club that your friends all but forced you to go to. You're not having a good time. In fact, you're pretty miserable and can't wait to go home. As you sit at the bar nursing your Cherry Coke a good-looking guy comes and sits next to you.

That would be nice, right? A good way to pass the time until your friends decide they've had all the man-handling they can take (for the night).

Well, say the hot guy in question turns out to be the village bicycle--"everybody has had ride!"--the infamous man-whore of your school/town. You're disgusted this vile creature is in your immediate vicinity, don't want him around. So you tell him to go away. And he doesn't. He tells you he needs your help because, in his words:

"You, darling, are the Duff. Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend. No offense, but that would be you. Hey, don't get defensive. It's not like you're an ogre or anything, but in comparison..."

He proceeds to tell you that he's talking to you, the Duff, so your über hot friends will think he's a nice, sensitive guy. He's hoping this will up his chances of getting into their pants.

How would you react to that?

If this happened to the person I am today I'd totally laugh in the a-hole's face and walk away. Because, really, I couldn't care less what a (most likely) STD-infected man-whore thinks of me, regardless of how ridiculously hot he might be. I'm an adult. I stopped caring what other people think of me. All that matters is what I think. (for the record: I'm happy with the way I look). Besides, I'm married.

But if that happened to me fourteen years ago... well, let's just say it would have destroyed--I'm talking completely pulverized--what little self-esteem I had at the time. Back then I was--comparatively speaking--the Duff among my circle of friends. I didn't get attention from guys when I was with my unintentionally hot friends (seriously. And they didn't even know it. They were all long-limbed, willowy, girl-next-door beautiful. I was the average height ethnic girl).

What's my point? My point is I can see why teenage girls would want to read this book. Like I said, I've been there. I get it.

BUT what I fail to appreciate is the way this story plays out.

Bianca Piper, the Duff in question, is a seventeen-year-old girl finishing up her senior year in high school. She has two good friends who really care about her. Parents who, dysfunctional marriage aside, love her. She's intelligent, witty, and successful--for the most part.

Bianca only real major downfall is she is much too cynical, especially when it comes to love, though I can't say I blame her. Bianca was only fourteen when she had her heart stomped on by an upperclassman.

It is her wit and cynicism that comes to her aid the night she's told that she is The Duff. She insults the man-whore, Wesley Rush, and throws her Cherry Coke in his face--**plus twenty points for Bianca, am I right?**--and walks away in a dignity-at-all-times manner.

Unfortunately Bianca doesn't walk away completely unscathed. She is unable to get over the fact that she's the so-called "ugly fat girl" among her friends. It starts eating away at her self-esteem.

And to make matters much worse, her home life begins to crumble.

Instead of dealing with her problems, Bianca masters the art of escapism. Totally understandable. I've been there. But instead of losing herself in a good book, movie or yogalates, she loses herself in the bed of...(wait for it)...Wesley Rush, resident man-whore. The guy she hates with the intensity of a thousand suns.

Oh, it gets better. He lovingly nicknames her 'Duffy'. That's right, as in The Duff. And Bianca has a bevy of insults to hurl at Wesley whenever it pleases her. Neither of them them pretend their relationship is based on anything other then sex. Call it what you will: escapism sex, hate sex, cheap sex, a hook-up, sex buddies, booty call...I could go on. Regardless of the label, this is where the author starts to lose me.

I hope I'm not coming across as 'holier then thou', because, seriously it's not like I was an angel when I was a teenager. I had a wild streak back then, I made mistakes. Lots of them. It's just my mistakes involved less sex. Okay, sex was never involved. Neither was nudity. But I kissed (read: had total make-out sessions with) a bunch of guys. Sometimes with the sole intention of getting my mind off my problems. So really, I understand Bianca's motives. I even understand how in a twisted way she felt pretty, more desirable afterward.

That being said, I can't understand why/how she's able to repeatedly hop into bed with a guy who makes her skin crawl. She's with him as much as five times a week. Not that I'm a sexpert (see what I did there? I combined sex and expert. Hee.) but I'd wager to say that's a lot of sex for a couple of teenagers who are using each other. Especially considering how cheap and dirty Bianca claims to feel afterward.

While reading this novel I was all, "Stop it. Stop having sex with the guy you hate. Just STOP! Go talk to your friends or a counselor. You need help." But clearly, she didn't stop. It wouldn't have been so bad had she felt more guilty or ashamed afterward. And I could understand her need had it been described as some sort of an addiction. Or perhaps the author could have described Bianca's home life much worse, making her incessant need to escape that much more plausible.

But yeah, my point is: I just couldn't relate. Not entirely. And so this story fell apart for me. Okay, that's a lie. It didn't fall apart--the story was still in one piece when I finished this book, but just barely.

The only real redeeming thing about The Duff is the conclusion Bianca comes to near the end of the novel, about what it means to be a Duff. And she realizes how stupid she and Wesley were by having so much sex, regardless of how much protection they used (for the record: condoms and the pill).

And though it pains me to do so, I'll admit that I'm sappy enough to like how this book ended. (Kill me.) It wraps up so neatly with a giant bow on top, Pretty Woman style. Three stars but just barely, and if I were I being totally fair I'd have to give it just two stars (waaaaaaaaay too much swearing going on in this book. It's completely out of control). But I liked this book, despite all it's faults, so yeah, three stars.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
April 25, 2021
“No matter where you go or what you do to distract yourself, reality catches up with you eventually.”

Never really planned to read this book, but I saw it at the library and picked it up anyway. I watched the movie a few weeks ago and it's - big surprise - completely different.
But I should talk about the book here: It's utterly guessable and an old big high school chick lit cliché, but that's why we love those books and movies right? So nothing surprising, except how openly the author wrote about sex. Thumbs up for that.

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May 13, 2016


I was in the middle of asking myself the age-old question-where will I use this in real life?-when I felt a hand on my shoulder. That skin-crawly thing happened, and I knew exactly who was behind me.
Great. Just fucking great.

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Aaaahhhh this book. This book made me so unbelievably happy, it's unreal. I was completely and utterly obsessed from the minute I picked it up until the moment I put it down. I grumbled when I had to go to sleep and I tossed and turned for what felt like an eternity, struggling internally to keep my head on the pillow and not roll over to pick my Ipad up again. It's not that it was deep or heartfelt or altogether meaningful, I suppose, but the author created this wonderfully cliched world that I felt myself instantly addicted and drawn to, and these characters embedded themselves deep into my heart where I didn't ever want to let them go. It didn't need to be anything other than what it was-fun.

"Hey, you never told me why you were upset the other night," he said. "You were too busy shoving your tongue down my throat. So what was the problem?"
"None of your-," I began, but I stopped suddenly. "Hey! I didn't...there was no tongue!" A shiver of rage ran through me as I noticed his mischievous smile. "You son of a bitch! Get the fuck out of here. God, why are you stalking me? I thought Wesley Rush didn't chase girls. I thought they chased him, right?"

I'm not going to lie-I was ready for a DNF. I know, I know, total case of judging the book by it's horrendous cover, but come on, Guys-look at it! Sad. Anyway. I saw the mixed reviews, I heard the movie was better, I found it was full of cliches, and...er....yeah, this is awkward-I heard the author was seventeen when she wrote this. All negative, if you ask me. I know, I'm a total bitch, right? But there were so many alarming red flags that had me so nervous when I picked this one up. And, I'll admit it, I totally had my nose turned up like a snooty Who from Whoville when I began reading. I was all 'Hmm. That happened quickly' and 'Oh, well she's a bitch' or 'Hmm. I don't like that they hang out here.' But oh mah gah was I proven wrong. Each page that passed I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper until I eventually was so wrapped around this book's pretty little finger that I couldn't see straight. And you know what?? It's never felt so good to be wrong.

I was fully conscious of Wesley's hand as it slid up my torso and moved to cup my breast. With an effort, I pushed him away from me. His eyes were wide as he leaned back. "Please don't slap me again," he said.
"Shut up."

Oh, Bianca, you bitchy little not-so-Duff. The inner workings of her mind were so funny, albeit very opinionated. She definitely had a venomous bite, but I never felt put off by her harsh judgements or crude rationalizations. Her reasons to start hanging with Wesley were wrong from the beginning, but she never once forgot that fact. Hiding it from her friends, attempting to escape reality, and scrutenizing others that were basically doing the same thing as her, she was in no position to judge...yet she did, repeatedly. And that's where I think a lot of people might have had a problem with her-but I didn't. I dunno. I thought that was kind of realistic. I pull a 'pot calling the kettle black' frequently when it concerns myself and other people, no matter how nice I am or how much I like people-it's human nature to be a wee bit judgemental, and I can't say I'm not...'cuz I am. No, I think my only problem with this whole story was how she continually put herself down. She repeatedly called herself the Duff and questioned why anyone liked her, why Wesley would possibly waste his time with her. It was a very noticeable thing throughout the story, but thankfully I loved her and Wesley so much it just didn't matter-but I can see how this could possibly annoy others.

I jerked out from under Wesley's hand and spun to face him, gripping my pencil like a dart and aiming it right at his Adam's apple.
He didn't even flinch. His gray eyes examined the pencil with feigned curiosity and he said, "Interesting. Is this how you greet all the boys you like?"
"I don't like you."
"Does that mean you love me, then?"

And WESLEY!!! EEPS!! I Can. Not. Believe. How much I loved him. He was cocky. He was arrogant. He was quirky. He was sexy. He gave me butterflies that I continually choked on...Okay. Fuck. I TOTALLY get why I loved him. But that's besides the point!! From the moment we meet him *cough* page two *cough* I was raising my eyebrow sardonically (Okay, in my head I was. I'd had a couple glasses of wine....but that's neither here nor there). I mean, we meet him THAT early?? Gag. I hate when that happens. But OMG, my fears were squelched when he not so subtlety inserted himself in her life every single day. They formed this adorable bond that made them secret friends, then secret *bleep* buddies, and then....something more?? I found myself laughing out loud so much when he was around that my smile became permanent. My heart broke the more we found out about him. My heart soared when he defended her. And my smile was depraved when he got jealous. But, mostly, there were butterflies. Endless butterflies.

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This book, to me, was unputdownable. I read it at work. I thought about it when I wasn't reading it. I lost many hours of sleep over it. And I stayed up until almost one on a work night without even realizing it until I looked up and saw what programming was on tv-randomly, I might add. So, to say I didn't love this would be false. I adored it. I cherished it. I'm guna go buy the movie version book for my bookshelf (I'm sorry, I can't do that fugly cover. Just...No.). I, my friends, am still obsessed. I cannot wait until I can read it again.

Cute, funny, heart-warming, and addicting beyond all measure. This young author wrote my dream book for this moment in my life-I will never be so judgemental again (Lies. All lies. But, that would circle the point I'm trying to make-oops) before I really know what I'm talking about. I won't judge a book by it's cover. And I will try not to be biased.

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Oops. Just like Bianca. Guess I'll never learn my lesson *shrugs* but I'm so glad I broke my completely rigid mold of rules for this one.

No matter where you go or what you do to distract yourself, reality catches up with you eventually.

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Profile Image for Janina.
214 reviews526 followers
June 12, 2011
So. I finished The DUFF yesterday and I’ve calmed down a little after being majorly annoyed with its main character, Bianca. Sorry, but how can a supposedly intelligent person be so dumb and so clueless? The only explanation I can think of: Someone gave her very bad advice.

“Hey, my father is a dry alcoholic, hasn’t been drinking for almost 18 years, and now consumes huge amounts of beer and whiskey because my mom left him.” - Better not tell anyone, it is his secret and you’re not in the position to reveal it. It’s just a phase anyway, it’ll pass.

“My mom has been neglecting our family for years. She’s always travelling and rarely stays at home with us anymore. Now she sent the divorce papers and my father is devastated. I’m really angry at my mother. Why couldn’t she come home to talk to him at least?” - Don’t be angry at your mother, she just does what’s best for her and your father. You should totally change your opinion about her behaviour the second you see her again and support all her decisions. It doesn’t matter that she’s the reason your father is drinking again and there is no reason to be angry at all – not even a little.

“I’m sleeping with this super hot, but also arrogant guy I pretend to hate to distract myself from my problems. When he touches me, I feel dirty afterwards, but it also makes me feel so much better. Is that normal?” - It is a perfectly normal thing that something that makes you feel dirty also makes you feel better. Not weird at all.

“I thought about the other thing again: My father really is drinking a lot and last night, he hit me and called me a whore. A friend rescued me and I spent the night at his house. Are you sure I shouldn’t do anything?” - Just forget about it the moment you leave the house. Your father will come to his senses, go to AA meetings from now on, never drink again and everything will be alright between the two of you.

“Another thing: I am also neglecting my friends over this guy I mentioned before. I don’t want to tell them what’s going on. Actually, my best friend is already suspicious and angry at me for not talking to her anymore.” - Just do nothing and carefully avoid her. It doesn’t matter if she is pissed after she finds out – which is inevitable.

“I think I have feelings for this guy I’m seeing, although I know it’s pointless because he’s not interested in relationships. But there also is this very nice boy that’s interested in me. I’ve had a crush on him before the thing with Wesley and now is my chance. Maybe I should date him instead?” - Definitely. Go out with the nice boy, he’s a much better choice and you should just ignore the feelings you have for the other guy. He’d only hurt you anyway. Also, a book without a love triangle is a bad book. There have to be two guys in your life.

Obviously, this review is to be taken with a grain of salt. I was really looking forward to reading The DUFF, because in a way, it sounded similar to Perfect You - which I loved. Therefore, I was really disappointed at the outcome. I think this is one of those books you either hate or love. I have not managed to find any indications on what makes you love it or hate it, though. But I think if you can sympathize with Bianca this could turn out to be a great read for you.
Well, as you might have deducted from my review and rating, I’m more on the hate side (although “hate” is definitely too strong of an expression). The main character annoyed me, and despite the sexy premise, I didn’t feel any chemistry between Bianca and Wesley.

I’d say: If you want to read this book, give it a try and see for yourself if it is for you or not. It is really hard to give a recommendation here because it is almost impossible to draw the line - when will a character annoy you and when will you like him despite his faults.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,867 reviews2,240 followers
September 3, 2015
4.5 Duffy stars!!!

“No matter where you go or what you do to distract yourself, reality catches up with you eventually.”

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OMIGOSH YOU GUYS! I loved this book!! Like seriously, I kind of can't believe how much I loved a book that literally means "ugly fat friend".

Over the years I've seen this book in passing, in the library, bookstores, and lists titled "Best Book Boyfriends". I never picked it up because come on. Look at the title. Now look at the cover. Based on those two things, would you read it? Well this is an extreme case of don't judge a book by its cover... or its title.

Bianca is a cynical girl, but her friends don't mind it. They love her for who she is. One night when all three are out, Bianca finds herself near the school manwhore Wesley, who proceeds to educate her on the fact that she is the Duff. Designated Ugly Fat Friend. This title makes Bianca's head spin, and she goes into a small identity crisis. On top of that, things aren't so good with her parents and her life around her is falling apart. Assigned to work on a project together, Bianca and Wesley end up having a secret friends with benefits relationship, both trying to escape their crappy real lives.

As I stated before, I loved this book. Because it surprised me. Bianca was a character I loved so much. She was ridiculously cynical, and I guess maybe I am too because most of the time when she would say something, I'd be sitting there nodding my head and going "hey, I would say that!"

And this book had some seriously funny moments and dialogue in it. For example:

“Spanish, huh?" he said, glancing down at the scattered papers as he grabbed them. "Can you say anything interesting?"
"El tono de tu voz hace que queria estrangularme." I stood up and waited for him to hand over my papers.
"That sounds sexy," he said, getting to his feet and handing me the stack of Spanish work he'd swept together. "What's it mean?"
"The sound of your voice makes me want to strangle myself."

“Your sense of humor needs some work, then," Wesley suggested. "Most girls find my jokes charming."
"Those girls must have IQs low enough to trip over.”

“I mean, there is a reason its initials are VD. I bet you more people contract syphilis on Valentine's Day than on any other day of the year. What a cause for celebration.”

"Vagina, vagina, vagina. Get over it, Jess. You have one. You can call it what it is."

Despite having a sense of humor, this book also dealt with serious teen issues. Bianca's parents were going through a divorce and her dad was becoming less and less present, and she didn't know how to deal with it. Bianca's former asshole of an ex-boyfriend shows up in town with his new fiance. Wesley's parents are always gone and his crone of a grandmother won't let him see his sister. Lots of teen drama rama.

The other things that surprised me about this book? There was so much sex! Like from the beginning. Would you look at this hot pink and yellow cover and think you were in for a large round of young adult fade to black? Not me! It was kind of refreshing to read a teen book and have it be realistic about what teens are experiencing in real life.

And Wesley. *sigh* I loved that asshole. Like, he was such a freaking jerk in the beginning, but like Bianca, the more I saw him in the book I couldn't help but swoon over his arrogant ass. I agree with the list, he's a great book boyfriend.

“Don’t lie to yourself because you think it’s safer. Reality doesn’t work like that."

At the end of the day, everyone who reads this review is going to read whatever the heck they want. I'm the same way. But, I encourage you to ignore the title and cover, and to read this gem of a book. That or go and see the movie when it comes out this February. Hopefully it doesn't suck.
Profile Image for Simone Elkeles.
Author 30 books13.5k followers
February 13, 2015
I am so glad that this book is now a movie - it was a cute, fun, sexy read (edgy - so it's for older teens) and I loved it.
Profile Image for Brandi.
634 reviews1,275 followers
January 15, 2015
3.75 Stars


A cute, fun read. I really enjoyed this story. What is a Duff? Hell, many of us notice them all the time. The one girl/guy who is a bit less attractive in their crowd, the one that tends to fade into the background. Well, when known manwhore, Wesley informs Bianca that she is in fact the Duff of her group, she is left spinning.


This revelation comes at the same time Bianca's home life is taking a nosedive. So, guess where she ends up taking refuge... the last place she ever imagined, Wesley's bed. But Wesley isn't as bad as he seems, and of course, things blossom, as they typically do.

"Wesley Rush doesn’t chase girls, but I’m chasing you."

Overall this was a sweet read, reminding us that there is always more to people than meets the eye. And at times we all feel like the Duff. I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,065 reviews1,905 followers
March 29, 2016
Now he was the one who looked angry.

Angry and HURT.

I didn't get it.

Okay. People will tell you all sorts of things about this novel. But you come here to hear the truth, right? And the truth is that what this novel is REALLY about is a girl who is one of the stupidest characters ever created. Someone who just does not grasp human relationships and interactions. She's an idiot.

Did you ever see 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU? Yeah? Bianca, the MC in this novel, is like Julia Stiles was in that movie. (Except brainless.) Bitter, cynical, and lashing out an anyone and everyone she can. Mainly because

Because of this traumatic experience, Bianca is one of those people who hates school dances, hates Valentine's Day, doesn't "believe" in love, etc. etc. etc. But her two sweet, beautiful best friends (Casey and Jessica) adore her anyway.

One night, while at the non-alcohol, under-21 club that her friends insist on dragging her to all the time, a hot guy in her class named Wesley approaches her. He informs her that her two best friends are gorgeous, and that he is winning points by being seen talking to her, the DUFF. When she asks him what that is, he tells her that it means Designated Ugly Fat Friend. She promptly spills her Cherry Coke all over his head.

But in case you think that this is a little girly teenage novel with problems that consist of this kind of thing, you quickly are corrected. Bianca's mom hasn't been home in a long time. And her dad is fighting frequently with her on the phone. Her father, who has been sober for 18 years, is having a hard time dealing with the fact that his wife might never be coming home.

Bianca has a hard time coping with this drama. Not to mention the fact that she finds out her evil ex is coming back into town. She needs something to dull her pain and empty her mind. Something male...

This book was completely confusing to me. For one thing, Bianca is a complete moron who had me seriously wonder if she had been dropped on her head as an infant. Here are some newsflashes for you:

If you ignore your friends, refuse to see them, and won't take their calls... they might be a little angry with you and think you don't like them anymore. Sounds obvious, right? Not to Bianca.

If you are having sex on the regular with a man, let's say 3-4 times a week, and are spending a lot of time with him, and then suddenly break it off for no apparent reason, he might be hurt and worried. Sounds obvious, right? Not to Bianca.

If every time a man sees you, he has a huge erection, tries to get you naked, and fucks you into next Saturday... then he's attracted to you. SAY WHAT? No, really, it's true. Those are signs that a man might actually think you are sexy. I know. It's a crazy concept. Certainly Bianca doesn't understand it.

Now you know the levels of stupidity I'm dealing with.

There are other things that confused me. For one thing, it's often talked about malicious cheerleaders who keep ugly or shy freshman girls as "pets," basically ordering them to do menial tasks and verbally abusing them. I have never seen this in real life. Were the cheerleaders pretty? Yes. Were they more 'popular' than other students? Yes. Were they ever total verbally abusive jerks to some poor underclassman girl who was sad and lonely? Um, NO. Emphatically not. Actually, in my experience, the popular kids didn't really pay much attention to anyone not in their crowd. I'm baffled by this prevalent media portrayal of evil, abusive cheerleaders who make other kids' lives hell. One, you can easily get kicked off the squad for that shit. Two, part of being popular is at least PRETENDING to be friendly to everyone, even if you didn't give a care. So... that part is a fail.

Keplinger seems to embrace caricatures and stereotypes. The jocks, the cheerleaders, the debate team, the band geeks, whatever insert stereotype here. I never really found high school to be divided up that easily.

Apparently, everyone is having sex. And is super-confident about having sex. I'm pretty sure that even in 2015, the majority of high schoolers have either a.) pretty tame or b.) nonexistent sex lives. College is a different story, but high school? It was pretty rare to even have two or three sexual partners in high school, much less the 50 or so we're supposed to believe Wesley is pulling. In high school? Are you kidding me? You live with your parents and a lot of people don't even have their own car.

And have you ever seen or talked to high school kids? High school boys? They are far from the swaggering, confident, sexually powerful teens in this book. Most ADULTS can't even handle meaningless sex - much less teenagers who haven't even been exposed to the world yet. And most adults don't possess the sexual confidence and absolute surety that Wesley possesses. He never doubts himself, seems awkward, second-guesses himself, needs reassurance in bed, or expresses any kind of weakness of any kind.

Which is complete bullshit.

You'd think, after all the bullshit Bianca went through with her ex, that the last thing on Earth she'd want is another secretive, no-one-can-know relationship. Yet that's exactly what she goes for and embraces wholeheartedly. It didn't make any sense to me.

Pretending you don't have any emotions is one thing. Actually being a soulless potato? That's quite another. And it's very obvious throughout the book that Bianca has no idea what constitutes a friend, a boyfriend, love, friendship or even simple human kindness and decency. This would be much easier to take if she was supposed to be psychologically abnormal in some way. But I think she's supposed to be a neurotypical, non-disorder/sociopathic/psychopathic/whatever teen. Which was a fail. I found myself wondering how this girl had made any friends at all.

This book has a message, and it's a positive one, basically saying that everyone gets lumped with stereotypes that serve to box them in and hurt them. I didn't think the message was cheesy or overdone. I rather liked it.

Bianca's a hypocrite. But she knows that and occasionally admits that, so all the slut/whore/tramp stuff didn't bother me as much as it usually does. Bianca is self-aware and it's obvious that Keplinger is trying to slowly teach her a lesson. It's very sad that girls internalize this slut/whore label, but I didn't feel it was unrealistic and I also felt that Keplinger's end message was against this. If you expect me to go on a feminist rant here, it's not going to happen. Please see my other reviews, there are tons of feminist rants there. ;)

After having just finished reading King's The Shining, it was startling to once again be plunged into a story with an alcoholic abusive father with a bad temper. The one scene where was really tough for me to read. And it was even MORE frustrating that Bianca's dad's alcoholism is completely tied up in a neat little bow, never to be heard from again by the end of the novel. Um, that's a total lie. Getting knocked off the wagon after 18 years is a big fucking deal. Not just some tiny, pesky, easily solved, insignificant problem. I was hoping Keplinger would at least hint at this, but no. Sunshine and flowers all the way in YA, man. Not to mention having your father would have much more lasting and significant psychological damage than is presented here. Instead, it's like, "Oh, don't worry about it, Dad! Best friends again? Yay!"

And like father like daughter: Bianca is using sex with Wesley to go blotto and erase her worries just like her Daddy is using alcohol to go blotto and erase his worries.

I was happy and relieved that this novel portrays teenagers have safe, protected sex. And at no point does it try to pretend that teenagers aren't a.) having or b.) trying to have sex. This is much healthier than crap "celibate" YA where people just kiss, or something. But, let me tell you about some complete and utter bullshit. At the end,

Bad call. I feel like Keplinger is suddenly and for no reason throwing in a don't-have-sex,-teens! message at 98%. It's strange, out-of-place, and unnecessary. As if her publisher or editor was suddenly like, "Well, we can't make it seem like we're promoting teen sex! Whoops! Better just slap a band-aid on that!"

The worst, absolute worst parts of the book for me was when Bianca would put herself down by calling herself fat.

For a girl with such a fat ass, I felt pretty invisible. AND

Casey was bringing popcorn, and Jessica promised us big bowls of chocolate swirl ice cream.

As if my ass wasn't big enough.

...I thought miserably as I lugged my fat ass toward Spanish...

Listen, the world is going to hate you and tear you down. Why tear yourself down? Why insult yourself? Why be your own bully? I don't understand it. I felt terrible every time Bianca would say something like this. This may be common in female circles, but I can't stand this shit. My friends know better than to disrespect themselves in front of me because they know I will lose my everlovin' mind if I hear them.

Tl;dr - This was a mixed bag. On one hand, Bianca is a moron and it is extremely frustrating to the reader. On the other hand, this is a cute, fun, quick read. I enjoyed it overall.
Profile Image for Fenia.
262 reviews455 followers
December 9, 2014
This book. WOW. Another soul-mate book. I decided to read it because of the movie trailer,BUT its NOTHING like the trailer. This book is deep and thought provoking.

Bianca, the DUFF, is not your regular 'misfit' or protagonist. She's cynic,smart,protective,loving. And her friends though they are pretty, are not dumb blondes as the trailer suggests. They are pretty amazing people. Casey and Jessica are two brilliant friends. Wesley is NOT how he's presented in the trailer either. In book,he has depth,a background that made him the way he is. and he never tried to FIX Bianca. or have a make over or whatever. Actually noone did. In this book NOONE has a make-over. Shocking,i know.

Wesley and Bianca are OTP. and this book is so special. not just because i can relate sometimes with Bianca,but because sometimes i can't. This book does not fit any line or category. Its not predictable. It keeps you guessing. The ending made me think a few things over in my life. and THAT is what makes a great book in my opinion. Its the kind of book that changes you. Its good. Rainbow Rowell book,good.

PS: In the movie trailer,i noticed a lack of curls in Wesley's head. WHY? Where are the curls? I demand black curls!!!
Profile Image for Jessica.
743 reviews619 followers
September 11, 2018
I'm fully aware of the fact that this does have its flaws but I had such a blast with this book, I can only rate it 5 stars.


Simply put: I loved this. One reason might be that I’m the biggest sucker on earth for stories like this. Bad boy falls for good/ordinary/average girl. Give me a main character I can relate to, a plot that keeps me entertained and doesn’t strike me as stupid or ridiculous, make the bad boy swoon-worthy and top it off with some hot and sizzling scenes that make my pulse speed up and I’m happy.

As I already said, I am fully aware of the fact that this story does have its flaws, one being its predictability, and you probably wonder why I rated it 5 stars (because this is certainly not the same 5 stars rating as I gave to Melina Marchetta’s Saving Francesca for example) and I honestly don’t know how to justify myself except by saying that I couldn’t put this down, I kept jumping back to passages I especially liked, even while reading, and after I had finished the book I had to read the whole thing again right away because I just didn’t want to let go just yet. Whenever a book manages to cast a spell over me like that I cannot help but give it the highest rating.
Profile Image for Aishu Rehman.
847 reviews772 followers
April 11, 2019
I loved the general idea of this book. As the DUFF in many a friend circles in high school I found this book refreshing. Bianca spends a bit of the book upset by the fact that she is the DUFF, what she learns is that everyone is a DUFF. Which I wish I would’ve known when I was in high school. I loved how it touched on the fact that all teenage girls are so self conscious and never see their true potential. There are a few heavy storylines happening here but in teenage life, they are very common. Bianca’s mom is a motivational speaker and she spends little time at home. It puts a strain on life at the Piper household.

Bianca, The Duff, goes out to a teen club with her friends Jessica and Casey. They have fun dancing and she spends most her time chatting up the barkeep named Joe. In comes Wesley Rush. The schools playboy. The boy has a reputation dirtier than yesterdays gym socks. Girls love him because he is your typical teenage heart throb. Muscles, money, and they pretty boy face. He starts chatting with Bianca and tells her all about how she is the Duff and that speaking with her, showing her compassion, will get him high points with her more hot friends.
August 5, 2017
Okay, okay, ¡júzguenme! No puedo evitarlo, amé este libro... mal. ¡Lo que me reía yo leyendo las tonterías que decía Bianca!

The DUFF es un libro construido sobre una base de clichés y sexo. La historia que nos encontramos aquí es la de Bianca, una chica que se considera normal y corriente, tiene un par de amigas guapísimas y "detesta" a Wesley, el Casanova del instituto. En realidad todo empieza cuando Wesley le dice a Bianca que ella es la DUFF, lo que quiere decir que es la amiga fea y gorda, cuya función es hacer que las demás chicas de su grupo se vean más guapas cuando están con ella. Más allá de eso, y como ya dije que esto va de clichés, ya se pueden imaginar que Bianca está secretamente enamorada de Wesley y que el 90% del libro ellos dos se aprovechan del título de amigos con beneficios.

No sé por qué The DUFF me enganchó tantísimo. Me devoraba cada una de las páginas, le hacía barra a Wesley y a Bianca para que dejaran de tontear y se pusieran serios, sufría las desgracias familiares de cada uno de ellos (que bastante jodidas sí que son), detestaba los momentos en los que no estaban juntos y casi dejo de lado el libro cuando Bianca entra en uno de sus momentos de "seamos fuertes" y daña absolutamente todo.

Ahora, ya sé que dije que The DUFF está lleno de clichés, pero también entrelaza dentro de su historias temas bastante duros como el divorcio de los padres, el alcoholismo, las recaídas, la presión social del Instituto, el bullying, la soledad y el tratar de llenar vacíos con cosas y comportamientos que sólo te hacen más daño.

¿En qué ocasiones recomiendo The DUFF? Léelo si estás buscando un libro ligero, que te saque de un parón lector y que no te haga pensar mucho. ¡Ah! Y si viste primero la película y crees que el libro va a ser igual: ¡ERROR! Son completamente diferentes.
Profile Image for Josu Diamond.
Author 8 books33.2k followers
March 19, 2015
Quizá no tenga una prosa espectacular ni una trama superatrevida y original, pero la novela entretiene mucho, engancha y qué coño, me ha gustado bastante. Sí es cierto que tiene algunos fallos que no me terminaron de convencer, pero el estilo de la autora es muy fluido y consigue que esas cosillas queden en un segundo plano. Los diálogos son directos y se tocan temas que no se suelen tocar, o al menos, no explicar. ¿Cuántas novelas juveniles describen el placer de un cunilingus? Además, el tono de la protagonista es muy similar al de Rae Earl de My Mad Fat Diary, y es un tono que me gusta mucho. No sé, que eso, que me ha encantado aunque no es la gran cosa de la literatura juvenil.
Profile Image for Clumsy Storyteller .
350 reviews726 followers
August 14, 2016

Fun-light reads i loved it , Bianca is such amazing i love her so much and Wesley is playboy who acts like an asshole in the first few chapters but you'll learn to like him as the story progress i loved the movie even more, they are so funny :D

392 reviews334 followers
August 3, 2011
My take on Wesley - http://irresistiblereads.blogspot.com... (hope you like JJJ :)

My Favourite Quote: "No matter where you go or what you do to distract yourself, reality catches up with you eventually".

I have never heard of the term The Duff (The Designated Ugly Fat Friend) before I bought this book. I thought maybe it was just a term used in the States. But apparently not. It is even used here in Australia. As I was paying for the book at the counter, the owner of the bookstore said 'we used to use the same phrase 20 years ago. Every group has a DUFF'.

It got me thinking about what role I played in my group. Was I The Duff? But after reading this I realised it is not a bad thing thanks to Keplinger. As Bianca says "I was the Duff. And that was a good thing . Because anyone who didn't feel like the Duff must not have friends. Every girl feels unattractive sometimes.......I should be proud to be the Duff. Proud to have great friends who, in their mind, were my Duffs." That is just one of the reasons why I loved this book.

The DUFF is funny, smart, honest, and a heartwarming. It is about all the important issues that all teens deal - love, friendship, family and insecurities. Sounds like an emotional read but it is not really. It had that lighter fun feel to it. A book that you will want to pick up and read again just to feel good. And I am amazed this is Keplinger debut novel and she was only 17 when she wrote it. It is a effortless read that had a nice pace and was always entertaining.

Bianca, is instantly likeable character that cause me laughter and heart ache. I think Wesley sums her up perfectly "What you are is an intelligent, sassy, sarcastic, cynical, neurotic, loyal, compassionate girl". She is confused at times and definitely has some family issues but completely relatable. Bianca doesn't deal with her issues and rather bottles them up inside and looks for other ways to escape them.

Now on to my dear Wesley. He makes a great distraction for Bianca. I have to admit at first I disliked him with a passion but as he grew on Bianca, he grew on me too. Definitely a sweetheart (well kind of) hiding as a bad boy. And when you put Bianca and Wes together sparks fly. These two would have to be one of my favourite literary couple because of their witty banter.

The only tiny issue I had with this book was the ending. I liked Bianca and Wes' ending that wasn't the problem. But rather the secondary characters - all there issues seemed to be resolved perfectly especially Bianca's Dad and Toby. It was just a tiny bit too perfect because we all know not everybody gets happy endings.

Overall, The DUFF is a fantastic debut that you shouldn't miss.

Rating: 4.5/5

Note: Lots of colourful language and sex scenes. So if you are sensitive to this maybe this book isn't for you.
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,266 followers
April 24, 2015
In every group there’s a Designated Ugly Fat Friend...

And that’s the catchy title and premise of this book, which is predicated on the fact that girl cliques supposedly pick a less attractive girl to hang out with so they can look better by contrast—at least according to our male MC, who the audience is supposed to hate…

I liked a lot of this book because most of it wasn’t typical YA. Most of it didn’t fall into melodrama or unrealistic dialogue. Mostly, this is a frank modern tale of the kind of issues teens face today within the high school microcosm.

Our female MC, Bianca, has her own issues without bringing boy trouble into her life. Her mom is largely absent and her father is a recovering alcoholic. While she has had a crush on another character (with a bowl cut, WTF??) for a few years and has put Vulcan-like barriers of logic in place as to what constitutes love, she can’t help but fall for her hookup buddy .

I find that this book isn’t so much about the high school experience as an ensemble, but a personal (and all too relatable) tale of being too hard on yourself and not feeling like you’re good enough compared to others. Bianca’s own boundaries are set up to keep people out—while one could argue that this is due to a “broken home”, I find it has more to do with self-esteem issues that most teens face. And that is the real reason why this book caught on and became popular: it’s a universal experience.

Plus, you just can’t trust anyone who didn’t have awkward teen years. #scientific fact

This book is also about labels, those we create for ourselves and those we place on others. Slut-shaming occurs here, but surprisingly not only with girls as our male MC gets his fair share of it too from his own grandmother; which is usually just a double-standard. The DUFF is supposedly an insult, but they try to reclaim it to mean something cuter.

What I didn’t like was whom Bianca ends up with. It felt like a complete copout to turn this into a teen fairytale romance towards the end when so much of it held an almost gritty humanity.
Profile Image for booknuts_.
759 reviews1,189 followers
January 11, 2015
Original Review at: www.awesomebooknuts.blogspot.com

I started reading this book all because of the trailer for the movie, it seemed cute and I wanted to read the story. I read it in one sitting, it's a quick read.

So I borrowed the book and read it! Needless to say it's probably going to be nothing like the book but more like the 90's movie She's All That  because this book, was although cute, NOT something I would recommend to young adults.

The main character Bianca was, insecure, self absorbed, hypocritical, judgmental, and a bit bitter. Granted I would be upset if I found out I was the DUFF in my group of girlfriends but to do what she did? really?

The book is LOADED with sex because Bianca's way of shutting out the world, truth, and her troubles is to have sex with a HOT guy, who has issues of his own, that she absolutely hates because he is everything she hates in a guy and guess what? maybe she didn't realize it but she was just as bad but he was a little less hypocritical about it. GAH! Now, granted everybody has insecurities and I don't mind that but it's hard to read it in a character and what she does with it!

How does she even have friends? Am I being a little too hard on her? especially since she is just a fictional character? I think not, especially when it comes to the fact that she finds solace in sex. What is that tell young people? Just have sex when you're upset with the hottest guy who'll have you and maybe it will work out?

Well hate to spoil it for you but that is what this book is basically all about. Two people who don't like each other have sex ALL the time and eventually fall for each other. really? dumb...

Maybe I didn't understand what the author was saying? because, really, I think I did. Even though the whole thing is about loving yourself and accepting you for who you are, that doesn't justify the content and how the author chose to take this. A bit disappointed here....

Overall it could've been super cute and sweet, instead it's not worth your time to read. However I still want to see the movie!

Sexual Content: heavy (LOTS of sex-not too graphic and talk of sex)
Language: heavy (plenty of all around curse words)
Violence: mild (someone getting slapped)
Drugs/Alcohol: moderate (underage drinking
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