The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger.

6931356280 pages

Published September 7th 2010 by Little Brown/Poppy

When Wesley Rush informs Bianca Piper that she is the Duff of her group (the designated ugly fat friend), she is outraged and throws her coke in Wesley’s face. She had already found Wesley to be a disgusting womaniser, but this just cemented her feelings of hatred towards him.

Unfortunately, things in Bianca’s life aren’t going all that well. Her parents marriage is rocky, and her ex-boyfriend (who treated her very badly) is back in town. She discovers that even though she can’t stand Wesley, he is a very good distraction. So begins their secret enemies-with-benefits agreement.

But after a while, Bianca realises that there’s more to Wesley than he lets on. Soon, her feelings of disgust turn into something more. . .

Now, the term ‘duff’ is made out to have connotations that are empowering. As in, sometimes we all feel like that ugly, fat friend within our group. I get it, I do. But something about it still seems a bit off. Anyway, it works for the book.

Bianca’s hard to dislike. She’s loyal and smart and funny. She’s got problems, just like everyone else. She finds a way of dealing with them that maybe isn’t very healthy, but she’s doing the best she can. Wesley is an idiot, an arrogant man whore. The way he switches from being a total butthead to being considerate is kind of unbelievable. He’s ‘teasing’ Bianca, but sometimes the stuff he says just seems way too nasty to have been spoken by someone with a heart. As the novel goes on, his true colours begin to show and even this disgruntled reader found herself a little charmed by him. But at the beginning, no way.

There is another guy that Bianca does like (as in like like), but he’s simply a red herring, designed to give the reader a little confusion as to whether Bianca and Wesley get together. Obviously this guy does not stand a chance and I will not even tell you his name. What’s that? Oh, he broke up with his girlfriend and is starting to show interest in our leading lady? Nup, not going to happen. He’s a ruse. Forget about this nameless boy, he has already lost the battle.

The thing is, when I started (re)reading this, I was so unimpressed. But everything that I disliked about it (ditzy best friend, unrealistic jump from being physically repulsed by Wesley to sexing Wesley constantly, the horrible pigheaded things he says to her, etc) is eventually explained or justified. So I’m left feeling quite good about The Duff.

In fact, the romance is pretty good if you are into those ‘I hate you so much but you are growing on me and now I feel like I might actually really really really like you’ type of romances. Wesley and Bianca are two broken people who help each other out while falling in deep like. It’s quite sweet, once you put aside all the gratuitous sex and swearing.

Seeing as it’s a nice short book, it’s worth having a read. You might love it, you might hate it. It’s got a pretty good rating on Goodreads.


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