Saturday, January 17, 2015

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

There were things I liked and things I didn't like about this book. This is a book about a sarcastic, cynical girl who falls for a jerk, who turns out not to be such a jerk, and learns that labels don't define people.

Things I liked:

The author wasn't afraid to have sex in this book. Unlike so many YA books out there, the characters in this book are sexually active. Which is the case for many high school teenagers. (The way sex is portrayed in this book actually reminded me a lot of the MTV show "Awkward.")

The sarcastic quips.

It had a believable teenage voice -- just not a very likable one.

This book also addresses labels and the problems with slut-shaming.

“Calling Vikki a slut or a whore was just like calling somebody the Duff. It was insulting and hurtful, and it was one of those titles that just fed off the inner fear every girl must have from time to time. Slut, bitch, prude, tease, ditz. They were all the same. Every girl felt like one of these sexist labels described her at some point.”
...I found this message a welcome surprise in this book. 

Things I didn't like:

That Bianca's father's drinking and anger management problem was resolved so simply and easily. It felt unrealistic and naive. One day her dad is drinking until he passes out and then two days later he quits and is going to AA meetings, the problem is never addressed again and everything is perfect. 

Casey and Jess. From what I've seen, it seems like most people liked Bianca friends, but in my opinion they seemed pretty shallow and boring. Jess and Casey were nice, but they had no real defining factors, despite Casey being tall and Jessica being too nice. That's it, they each had one major characteristic. Talk about one-dimensional.

Bianca. She was self-absorbed, negative and a shitty friend. Yes, she had some good sarcastic remarks, but she kept getting caught up in her own web of cynicism and self-pity.

The triangle. I felt like Bianca's whole relationship with Toby was unnecessary. It felt like the author threw that in there because Bianca needed to seem desirable. It was dumb. 

Wesley. And Bianca and Wesley's relationship. Okay, I'll admit it I'm torn about this, Bianca and Wesley could be cute at times and the ending is what any chick flick could want, but there are issues to be addressed. Mainly that Bianca and Wesley use each other for sex. Bianca states repeatedly that she hates Wesley, he makes he skin crawl, not to mention that he insults her and gives her a nickname that tears down her self-esteem every time she hears. But she still uses him as a booty call five times a week. And she ditches and ignores her friends to do so (and then is completely confused when her friends aren't happy with her). 

It also happens that Wesley suffers from DPS, disappearing parent syndrome. He has no one taking care of him because his parents are always away and his grandmother, who is taking care of his sister, ignores him and hates him because of his "promiscuous lifestyle". I'm sorry, but in what world does that happen. No way is there a teenager living alone in a mansion with no restrictions and no consequences. It is completely ridiculous. (If you want to read a review I agree with that addresses even more problems with the book I suggest this one.)

So, turns out, this book wasn't for me. But I understand why some people might enjoy it. It's totally a matter up to you own discretion.

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