Review of The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Published: 5th April 2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 352


Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is smart, cynical, loyal – and well aware that she’s not the hot one in her group of friends. But when high-school jock and all round moron Wesley Rush tells her she’s a DUFF – a Designated, Ugly Fat Friend – Bianca does not the see funny side. She may not be a beauty but she’d never stoop so low as to go anywhere near the likes of Wesley… Or would she? Bianca is about to find out that attraction defies looks and that sometimes your sworn enemies can become your best friends…


Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for kindly sending me a review copy. Seeing as the book was recently adapted into a film, I decided to watch it and give you all a mini film review at the end so enjoy the double whammy…

Bianca Piper aka ‘B’ is a DUFF – designated, ugly, fat friend and that is according to the school male whore Wesley Rush. Well isn’t he a charmer? With her two best friends Casey and Jessica, Bianca attempts to make it through her final year without throwing another Cherry Coke over anyone else.

“A week from Friday, it’s a date!”

Wesley Rush may not have charmed Bianca from the first pager, but I can’t deny that he’s a brilliant character and I didn’t see him as the sleazy man whore that Bianca portrayed him to be. He was quite funny in certain chapters and I had to hand it to him, he used his best assets and he was much more than a pretty face. Yet, he wasn’t the only boy in Bianca’s world; there were two other boys – one who she had kept quiet and the one her best friends knew about. Speaking of the BFF’s, Casey and Jessica were energetic, loud, sweet, popular and attractive; everything Bianca wasn’t. Their friendship was like super glue and nothing would pull them apart. Or would it?

“Mom wasn’t coming home. Dad was drinking again. And I was literally picking up the pieces.”

The secret between Bianca and Wesley wasn’t what regular teenagers do, but lying to their friends quickly became second nature and as much as I liked them together, I didn’t like seeing Bianca fall away from her two friends. Wesley was her complete opposite yet they kept the plot fresh and exciting. It was clear that throughout their shenanigans that Wesley continually called Bianca ‘Duffy’ to ignore his true feelings for her – it was that obvious.

“Valentine’s Day might as well have been called Anti-Duff Day.”

In a few weeks, Bianca’s world had tipped upside down: her Mum had left (again), her Dad was depressed while drowning his sorrows, Casey was being shifty yet amongst all the rubbish times, Wesley was always there for Bianca – without fail and I really liked that. They really were there for each other when nobody else was and when violence sprung into their lives. They were each other’s safety nets and they really suited.

“You better not leave this house! You hear me, you little whore.”

The progression of the narrative is perfect. Readers get to know Bianca within seconds and she was fun, relatable and a superb character. Her narrative voice was spot on and her story was heart warming. It was much more than an American love story – there was depression, alcoholism, betrayal, violence and daily struggles. Since the beginning chapter, I had a sneaky feeling that Bianca would go running to Wesley but perhaps not. Kody’s writing style is really straightforward and easy to indulge in with a lot of conversation and little description. Yet I liked it because the narrative flowed, the characters were brilliant and the overall outcome was exceptionally sweet.

So, about the film…

It’s different. Very different from the book. The main characters keep their names, the school name changed, the entire plot changed and I hate it when that happens. Instead Bianca and Wesley having a secret behind everyone’s backs, they have “experiments” about how to make Bianca not a Duff anymore and to make Wesley pass Science.

The DUFF is a lot like Easy A (you know, the Emma Stone one) plus an extra bitchy girl. The casting for the film is spot on though – Bianca and Wesley were amazing actors and they just made the film spot on.

I don’t know what is was about the film, but I prefered the book a lot more. The film wasn’t a disappointment, it was enjoyable but I really didn’t like all the changes. Who cares if you’re a DUFF?

Twitter: @Kody_Keplinger