The DUFF – by Kody Keplinger
Bianca is a smart girl with a snarky attitude who can’t wait to get out of her small town. She scoffs at teenage romance and she absolutely hates popular playboy Wesley Rush, especially after he calls her the DUFF (designated ugly fat friend). But when things start going wrong in her home life, she is desperate for a distraction and finds one in Wesley. What starts out as a purely physical relationship starts to grow deeper and Bianca is horrified to discover that she might be falling for the worst person possible.
I have some mixed feelings about this book. It’s fairly well-written, and I liked Bianca’s sarcastic voice, but for a supposedly smart person, she makes an awful lot of bad choices. Right off the bat, instead of confiding in her friends and dealing with her problems in a healthy way, she distracts herself from them by hooking up with the guy who has already thrown her into agonizing self-doubt with the stupid nickname “the DUFF.” Obviously, if characters in books made all the right choices, they’d be really boring and there wouldn’t be much point reading them, but she keeps going with this unhealthy relationship even though it makes her feel dirty. And yes, Wesley does gain some depth and become somewhat more sympathetic, and he doesn’t actually treat her badly, after the aforementioned name-calling, but he never stops being infuriatingly arrogant, so I found it hard to actually like him. Basically, I was invested in the story while reading, but after finishing it, I just felt sort of noncommittal about it. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t great either.