Dust Jacket Description
"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."
Characters: Bianca's daring attitude is just about the only thing I actively like about her. Jessica and Casey, Bianca's two best friends, kept on insisting that Bianca was cynical, but I didn't see it. There are a few cases in which she has a wit that I did enjoy. Her supposed feminism annoyed me immensely, as I am sick of female characters who complain about taking part in girly activities that are not, in fact, anti-feminist. Usually I would hate Bianca's character, but instead I found myself feeling indifferent towards her.
Wesley Rush is supposed to be a player. Somehow instead of acting like the ass Bianca keeps on insisting he is, he shows more compassion than idiocy through this novel. Of course he does make the DUFF comment, but otherwise he isn't disgusting in any other way. He's infinitely more sensitive from the get go than even my sweetheart guy friends.
Casey was feisty and fun to read while Jessica just made me want to smack her the majority of the time. Toby was void of any personality, just like all the perfect boy characters in YA, but Wesley was enough of a flawed character to keep me content.
The progression of Wesley and Bianca's relationship was lovely to read about. It's refreshing to read a YA book where every teen girl in sight isn't a virgin. There is lots of sex within this book, but Keplinger does in fact reveal a healthy message about intimacy without, usually, being preachy. The smut read like all my very favourite non-graphic fanfiction. Keplinger couldn't have done a better job in that area.
As for the DUFF, the whole idea of this novel, I wish there was a scene where Wesley had helped Bianca pick out all the DUFFs around school so I could see how the title affects the plot at all. Bianca's internal monologue kept on bringing it up and it lost its relevance half way through. At the end Keplinger seemed to try and make a feminist statement about the DUFFs, which was actually quite clever. I was just too used to tuning out Bianca's DUFF rants that I missed it.
I found myself rooting for Wesley and Bianca with ferocity early on despite all the technical issues with this book. Seeing as I have an inner critic the size of Nicholas Sparks' ego, that alone is an accomplishment for the author. 3 and a half flowers.
Writing: Keplinger has some serious potential. It's just hard to pick out with all of the horrible dialogue. Dialogue is very tricky to write and Keplinger's involves huge info dumps, some not relevant to the book. The dialogue reminded me of bad episodes of Gossip Girl with its unnatural wording and immediate intimacy.
Unlike most bloggers who gave the DUFF negative reviews, I found the majority of the swearing to be natural, with a few exceptions. It was the constant use of urgh that got to me. 2 and a half flowers.
Plot: Keplinger did a fairly good job in this region. I saw the outline of the book in my head while I was reading it. The struggles Bianca deals with seems realistic. A few are salvaged too easily in my opinion. I expected a huge bomb to be dropped at the climax of the book, but it never came. Beyond that, the plot didn't disappoint. 4 flowers.
End: Cliche. I knew it was coming. 3 flowers.
Dust Jacket Description: Fairly accurate. 4 flowers.
Cover: I don't understand. Where's the auburn hair? What's up with the bubble gum? It doesn't make any sense. 2 flowers.
Overall: There are heaps of issues with this books, some that made me want to snatch up my red pen. Somehow, I still loved it. I needed a fluffy book like this to combat the Monday and fix my growing bad mood. I wanted Bianca and Wesley to happen badly, was surprised when Bianca's mom came back into town and felt genuinely disappointed with Toby and Bianca's chemistry. Forget my technical critique, because I lost my troubles in the DUFF. Is it good literature? No. Is it even good chick lit? I'll let you decide. But it was fun, flirty and refreshing. It's what I needed. Plus I was itching to review it! 3 flowers.
Let me know what you thought of the DUFF in the comments! Link me to your reviews. I'd love to hear. I have a feeling I'm not going to forget the DUFF for a while.