Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: September 7th 2010 by Little Brown/Poppy
Synopsis: 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.
Thoughts: I have to split this review into two parts because I wanted to share my thoughts on the story and on the audio version as well, because my views on each portion are a bit different.
The first thing I want to mention is when I first heard of this book, I saw tons of reviews that were positive and there was the excitement of adding a new book to my TBR list. So when I finished my latest book on Audible, I went right for this one, excited to finally read it. One of the things I read a lot was that The DUFF was a "fun," "lighthearted" and/or "entertaining." While I can't deny that it was pretty entertaining and sometimes made me smirk a little (not outright laugh) I found it to be kind of dark more than lighthearted or fun.
Bianca, the protagonist, is totally realistic. I know that's why she became a favorite among many bloggers that I follow. She's a normal teenager going through real life issues and isn't really the most beautiful among her friends, which is very refreshing for a YA book these days. But her character bothered me, mostly. Not because she was mean (although she was) but because of the way she handled things sometimes. I mean, I understand why she did but I also got easily frustrated with her character.
The story begins with Bianca at a club sitting at the bar drinking a soda while her friends dance and she's just bored. Here comes in Wes who tells her she's the "designated ugly fat friend" and he's just trying to talk to her so he can get close to his friends. His insult sticks to her, she can't get it out of her head but eventually finds that sleeping with him sort of distracts her so they become sort of frenemies with benefits. Um..okay?
The first time she sleeps with him, okay I get it. But after that she continuously goes to him just for sex. Anytime something goes sort of wrong, this is what she does. And Bianca has a few issues she should be dealing with, like the fact that her dad is going back to being an alcoholic, or that her friends are upset cause she's not really speaking to them to avoid being confronted about sleeping with a jerk who I never really grew to like.
The DUFF was a little different, completely realistic and relateable, but with main protagonists that weren't really likable. I preferred Bianca's friends instead and really wasn't rooting for her most of the book. I just wanted her to get her life together and get some help from someone (anyone really) instead of just using this guy (not that he wasn't using her back) to forget about her problems. A good contemporary YA but definitely not something I thoroughly enjoyed.
Audiobook review: Honestly, I think I would've liked this book a little better if I had read it instead of listened to it, and that happens sometimes I guess. I had a few problems with the narrator that I know affected my overall rating of the book itself. For one, I thought her voice was a little annoying, but eventually got used to it. Another thing that really bugged me was that the narrator really emphasized curse words (note: I do not mind curse words, I use them plenty myself in real life it was just the way they were so specifically ) and there are plenty so it became irritating after the first few times.
Overall, I mostly enjoyed the book but it wasn't as great as I thought it would be. My expectations were higher from all the reviews I'd seen when it was first released, and didn't really find it as amazing. Sample