I first read this novel two years ago, when it came out, and loved it to pieces. I'm the proud owner of a beautiful first-edition hardcover copy. I was waiting eagerly for Kody Keplinger's latest novel, but when I read somewhere that the main characters of The DUFF were making an appearance there, I thought I should read it again. A couple well-spent hours.
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is very smart and cynical, and totally loyal to her two best friends. She's sure she will never fall for the school hottie, Wesley, or his womanizing ways. When he tells her that she's the Duff in her group (the Designated Ugly Fat Friend, with whom guys make conversation so that they can gain points with her friends), she throws her Coke in his face.
However, family life is difficult for Bianca at the moment. Her mother is absent, and her father, a former alcoholist, feels alone and depressed. While Bianca yand Wesley are working together on a school assignment, she kisses him for distraction, and it escalates into much more.
As she secretly becomes enemies-with-benefits with Wesle, Bianca discovers that he can be a good listener, and that his family is messed up, too. To her horror, Bianca realizes she might be falling for the guy she thought she hated the most.
First of all, I did not realize this book was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice of sorts before Misty of The Book Rat pointed it out in her review. I'm sure it must have been quite intentional on the author's part, but since the retelling is quite unconventional and, let's face it, sexy, I hadn't noticed before. It fits the book perfectly - Bianca initially despises Wesley for being a womanizer and too self-assured, while he tells her she's not attractive enough for him and nicknames her Duffy.
The DUFF comment was painful for me, too, as I was the "ugly" one in high school. (Falling for a guy who thoguht I was not attractive enough for him and went for my prettier best friend? Been there, done that.) I've always thought I disliked guys who slept around too much, but I was very fond of Wesley from page 1. Yeah, he's an annoying jerk, but he had redeeming potential in him.
I'm sure Wesley did not mean to be offensive at first, but Bianca is very hurt by that comment. She has distrusted boys ever since, as a freshman, she had a relationship with a senior and then discovered he already had a girlfriend. She's sure Wesley only wants sex from her, and starts dating Toby, the intelligent, very committed guy she's always had a crush on. On paper, they are perfect for each other. Yet, they never seem to hit it off.
What I liked the most in this novel was that both the main characters grow a lot. Bianca learns to trust a boy and be less bitter, and Wesley is less of a douchebag. I find they actually make a very cute couple! (I loved their cameo in A Midsummer's Nightmare, by the way. They were perfect. Wesley ignoring the pretty girl whos' making a pass at him is priceless.)
Now, a word of caution here - this book deals with mature themes, and, as many bloggers put it, sexytimes abound. I don't mind it as an adult, and wouldn't mind if I were 17, but I probably would have if I had read the novel as a younger teen. This is not a book for children. However, I admire Kody Keplinger for dealing with sex in her books in a frank and straightforward manner, without excessive moralism or judgement.Cover attraction:
pretty. I like the big yellow letters on the cover. I'm not sure what the meaning of the green chewing gum balloon is, or rather, there is probably no meaning at all, but it matches the girl's eye shadow, which looks good. I also like that the girl has freckles. You don't usually see freckled girls on book covers.