Sunday, December 19, 2010


"Bianca hates going out with her friends.  She loves Jessica and Casey more than almost anyone in the world, but watching them make fools of themselves on the dance floor and having to save them from the inappropriate advances of the jerks looking for their next conquest. Bianca spends her time sitting at the bar talking to Joe, the bartender, and drinking Cherry Coke. It's bad enough knowing she has two hours left before she can ask her friends to leave without looking like the party pooper, but when Wesley Rush plops down beside her, she feels like she wants to run screaming into the night.

Wesley says he just wants to talk. He thinks if he is seen talking to Bianca he'll have a better chance of getting into one of her friends' pants. Wesley explains that girls always like it when guys talk to the DUFF of the group. It makes the guy seem sensitive and kind. Bianca just happens to be the DUFF in her circle. DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Bianca is so offended that she throws her Cherry Coke in Wesley's face and storms off to retrieve her friends so they can leave.

Bianca always knew she was the plain one of the group, but when Wesley introduced her to the name DUFF, she feels what's left of her self-esteem crumble. In addition to her own internal drama, Bianca also has to deal with the return of the ex-boyfriend that broke her heart and the fact that her parents are on the verge of divorce and her father might fall off the wagon after being sober for 18 years because of it.

In an act of desperation and as a way to distract herself, Bianca kisses Wesley one night when out with her friends. Wesley, the guy she knows is the biggest player in school, who will sleep with anything with breasts and is basically a man whore. She freaks out and runs once she finally pulls away from the fevered kiss. When her English teacher partners her with Wesley for an essay, she feels like she is going to lose it. But, once she gets to his house, she can't stop herself from kissing him again and soon the kiss progresses to heated sex. Bianca has discovered her stress reliever. Now, she just has to keep it a secret from everyone she knows.

THE DUFF is a wonderful story. It really gives you a lot to think about. The author does a wonderful job of developing Bianca's and Wesley's characters - so much so that you will fall in love with Wesley even though he is an arrogant jerk.

Some of the issues I have with the book stem from the fact that I am a cynical person, much like Bianca. From the title of the book, we are led to believe Bianca is a large person. She comments that she has large thighs, but that is really all that is said about her body except for the fact that she has small breasts. In one part of the book, Bianca is on a date with Toby. Toby is described as skinny, but when he sees that Bianca is cold he takes off his blazer and gives it to her to wear. If she were a "big" girl, a skinny guy's blazer isn't going to fit. My other issue is the ending. While I am completely happy with the way it ended for everyone - I think it is a fairy tale (if we are really looking at what would happen in the real world).

THE DUFF is definitely a high school book. It contains language and sex. Now, as a lover of edgy fiction, I loved it. The sex scenes are very well done, but for a reader not expecting high school students to participate in these type of adult activities, it might not be a good choice.


  1. I loved this book! It's one of my favorites of 2010, for sure. My students (mostly junior girls) have been passing it around like my friends and I used to pass around Danielle Steele novels...There's that same sort of "taboo" feeling to it, probably because of the sex and language. But, I thought it was well-written and realistic. And, the author is a teen still, so I'm sure that she drew on real high school drama. Loved it!

  2. Great review Karin, I loved this book. Its one of my favorite reads from 2010.


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