Bianca Piper is an intelligent seventeen year old girl who values friendship, honesty, and sarcasm. There are a lot of things Bianca hates about high school, but Wesley Rush tops her list. Wesley is one of the hottest guys in their high school but he also happens to be a man-slut, and he calls Bianca “the Duff,” or designated ugly fat friend.
When Bianca’s family life takes a dive off the deep end, she ends up searching for a way to emotionally escape, and ends up locking lips with none other than Wesley Rush. After realizing that kissing Wesley helps her to mentally escape, Bianca and Wesley develop a friends-with-benefits type of relationship, minus the friends part.
The more time Bianca spends with Wesley, however, the more she realizes that he isn’t as bad a man as she thought he was and he is struggling with things just like she is. As time passes, Bianca is shocked to discover that she actually cares about Wesley, the one man that she thought she hated more than anyone else. Could Wesley ever care for a Duff like her?
Before I go any further with my review, I feel the need to inform my readers that I saw the movie first. Ultimately, that didn’t mean much because the book and the movie are not the same story, they are just slightly similar.
When I was a teenager, teenage high school stories and movies never got much worse than the movie “Mean Girls.” When I saw the movie, I was rather shocked by the amount of uncensored honesty.
When I began reading the book, I wasn’t entirely shocked by the content. The pure honesty, though not honest to my own high school experience, is unique and somewhat refreshing. This book also deals with a lot of subjects I think teenagers are dealing with on a daily basis, and that are rarely addressed.
This book dives into sexual relationships, the consequences of such relationships, and family issues such as divorce, dysfunction, and responsibility. It also discusses alcoholic relapses.
Obviously, a large part of this book deals with self-esteem and social judgments. The word “Duff,” designated ugly fat friend, was not originally used to mock or belittle the main character, Bianca. Instead, it was used as a way of pointing out the differences between three friends. To Bianca though, the word was very hurtful. Though Wesley did not understand that the word hurt her, over time, when he continued calling her “Duffy” it ate at her more and more. By the end of the novel, it is revealed to him the impact his words had.
Throughout the novel, we also learn that, at one point or another, we all feel like the duff, and ultimately we are all duffs to somebody.
I would recommend this novel to mature readers who are struggling to understand that they are not the only ones going through difficult times or are struggling with their self-esteem.
I bought my copy of this novel at my local Dollar Tree and am currently seeking permission to use an image of the cover artwork above.
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