The Duff – Book Review (repost)

This is a book that was adapted into a movie not too long ago (you can watch the movie on Netflix). After watching and loving the movie I would watch clips on YouTube and it was there that I found out it was based on a book by Kody Keplinger but that the book was completely different. I had to read it and I got it on Kindle and let me tell you, it’s completely different. The movie is still good but in my opinion the book is better.

There are things that are the same however. The whole idea of the DUFF and how she finds out about it is the same. Wesley does tell her and he does it as he tries to get with her friends. They are also in High School and Bianca in both the book and the film is smart and not that popular.

However in the book she isn’t bullied by some ultra-hot teen and her friends are hot but they’re relatable. I couldn’t relate to her friends in the movie. In fact I had a hard time believing they were friends, not because they were pretty but because they lacked personality. They were a list of cool things but I didn’t feel they connected with Bianca. In the book however Jessica and Casey connect with Bianca and I can see why they are friends. Jessica and Casey also have flaws! They actually have different aspects to their personalities and even they struggle with their looks.



The plot is interesting. Bianca’s mom Gina is gone doing self-help tours and so it’s Bianca and her dad Mr Piper. Her mom files for divorce and that sends Mr Piper into a spiral of depression. This effects Bianca but she doesn’t tell her friends as she doesn’t want them to worry, also she feels bad about being called a DUFF. Wesley keeps talking to her and she kisses him as a way to escape her spiral. Kissing him helps her and eventually when her dad starts drinking again (he’s an alcoholic) she goes back to Wesley and they start sleeping together.

They’re both using each other for an escape and in the beginning it’s a purely physical relationship.

Wesley’s character is also interesting. His only friend is Harrison and he lives alone because his parents are always gone and his sister lives with his judgey grandmother. Thus he lives in a mansion by himself. He’s lonely and Bianca picks up on this.

Their solution doesn’t last forever, especially when they start developing sincere feelings for each other and her dad’s condition turns violent. That was the turning point of the book. It forced Mr Piper to realise he had a problem again and it made Bianca realise she was falling hard for Wesley as he defended her and looked after her. But they still had issues to sort out.

She had a crush on Toby Tucker who she thought was her ideal match. He was smart, not conventionally handsome and a gentleman politician. I liked his character in the book more than the film as he had more depth. I liked how they were the perfect match for each other but ultimately they were in love with someone else.

I liked that Casey, the cheerleader, was as sarcastic as Bianca and truly cared for her. She was a mother bear and she got jealous when her friend got taken away from her (because of the hooking up with Wesley). It was realistic as friends do get jealous and can get pouty about it. I know as I’ve been that friend and I’ve had friends be jealous too. I liked that Keplinger showed various relationship dynamics from romantic to friendship to parental love.

As for Bianca I liked that she was sarcastic, neurotic and sometimes unlikable. She was a human with flaws and aren’t we all? She was also fun to read. When reading and the character is nothing like me it’s like an escape in a way and that’s fun.


So what did I think?

I thought that it was complicated and showed what happens when life goes to crap at home. It shows how much parents affect their children and how hard it can be to deal with.

The book also showed the reality of teenage relationships. Sometimes films sugar coat what happens with teens but this book didn’t and I liked that. It was refreshing and felt real.

I liked the female dynamics of the book. I liked that Keplinger tackled slut shaming and how we see ourselves. Even Casey and Jessica, ‘the hot ones’, had insecure moments where they felt like the DUFF. Is that not real life? We all have something we don’t like about ourselves and I liked how the book tackled that and also brought the message home that we shouldn’t judge or slut shame.

I also feel like the idiom beauty is in the eye of the beholder fits with this book. What is beauty and what makes people beautiful? Everyone has a different answer and that’s the point. So we shouldn’t look for validity in others but in ourselves.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

I give it a five out of five.

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