[description from 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 "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that 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.
Every so often, you see reviews from concerned parents on Amazon or goodreads saying that a book was much too graphic and sexual to be enjoyable, and teens should not be let near it. The DUFF is that book.
Some may find Bianca's blunt attitude and snark a bit much, but any sarcastic and snarky character gets love from me.* Though I sometimes felt like her development was a bit rushed, especially toward the end, I did like seeing her change from "I hate the world and everyone in it" to being a bit happier. I felt that many of the minor characters were well developed too-- Wesley goes through the same too-quick development near the end, but throughout the rest of the novel, he seemed quite realistic. I enjoyed seeing the secrets of his life and his past being shown, as they definitely helped bring something new to the sometimes repetitive storyline.
I also enjoyed the plot, for the most part. Bianca always manages to get herself into the most awkward situations, yet she describes them in a way that makes them entertaining and easy to relate to. The hookups with Wesley got a bit tiresome to read about after a while, but there was enough going on that it wasn't too distracting. Bianca's friend drama in particular was something that helped keep the book fresh, as it this book contained one of the more realistic friendship relationships I've seen. Plus, Bianca has more than one friend, so that was nice.
I was hoping for a bit more from a few story lines, though, particularly the one involving Crush Boy Toby and Bianca's parents. They were dealt with enough that they were realistic, but there was so much more that could have been done with them. I also felt like the ending happened really, really fast and was full of too many messages.
But what made me fall in love with this book was Bianca's discussion of the word "love" and how quickly people use it. I won't say anything more than that, but seeing her opinion was so refreshing and unlike anything else I've read about that I just sighed in happiness.
The DUFF is definitely not for a younger audience because of its content, but I found it to be extremely realistic, refreshing, and entertaining.
*Except for Jace from The Mortal Instruments but that is another story.
Book details: Poppy/Hardcover/$16.99