Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

One of my greatest pet peeves is when girls hate on each other. I want to talk about this with you guys, for a little bit.

We all like to think we never slut shame or hate on other girls. We like to think that when we were in high school we never did this. But reality is, you are a fucking liar. I’m just going to put it out there, alright. I used to slut shame when I was high school.

Fuck no, I don’t like this. But, let’s be real girls and boys. I fucking did this and I bitch slap myself every time I remember that.

My high school never had cheerleaders, but we had some weird ass dance team. These girls would wear colorful tight shorts with words like Juicy or whatever type of fruity name manufacturers would put on those spandex shorts. They used to buy sparkly bags, sparkly t-shirts, sparkly short skirts, sparkly heels, sparkly eye shadow, sparkly nail polish, sparkly belts, and anything that would blind the person standing on the other side of room. They were popular, beautiful, and had a lot of money to buy their shit. For whatever insane reason, I was mad at them. Even more insane, I would slut shame them and it didn’t occur to me that I did this because I was angry at how “perfect” they were.

This is what is ingrained into us as kids. Boys compare our looks, magazines like Vogue or InStyle compare our looks, award ceremonies debate on which celebrity wore it best and who wore it sluttier, modeling shows compare the right size boobs, and cosmetic surgeons are constantly telling us to change our ass and tits. Competition is every damn where when it comes to us girls.

As a feminist now, I fucking want to tear the old me apart. I want to Hulk-punch the reality of what I was doing. I was slut shaming and I didn’t even realize it. Now as an adult, I have learned that if I want to be considered a decent human being in the world I need to stop judging people for what they wear, how they look, and then stop trying to compete with other girls. Just be you. Don’t tell yourself you know what type of person that girl is by just looking at what she wears and who she sleeps with. You tell yourself, I don’t know that girl and I don’t know her background. That girl with the blonde hair and a short skirt? Stop your thinking machine and quit making the assumptions society has taught you to do. Just stop the shit, guys.

This is what Bianca goes through and that’s why I found her so relatable. This is what is beautiful about her. She changes. She learns. She owns her past. I had a similar experience to her. I learned from my mistakes and I had to own up to the fact that I was idiot.

I shook myself, surprised and a little worried. What was wrong with me? Louisa Farr wasn’t a whore. Sure, she was a preppy cheerleader–cocaptain of the Skinny Squad–but Casey had never had bad things to say about her. The girl was just talking with a cute guy. We’d all done the same. And it wasn’t as if Wesley was taken or anything. It wasn’t like he was committed to anyone.

This girl. She is majestic.

The people who call you names are just trying to make themselves feel better. They’ve fucked up before, too. You’re not the only one. 

Bianca is like a twist between Katarina Stratford and Juno McGuff. Bianca is one of the most realistic and true to life teen characters I’ve read in a long time. She’s selfish, self absorbed, and often prefers to have sex rather than talk about her feelings. She’s overly cynical (Just to be clear. I like this about her) and snarky. She makes it clear that she’s aware she’s way too cynical. She honestly doesn’t know how her friends put up with her constant negativity. This is real. I remember when I was teen and this is realistic. Teens are overly cynical. I remember this vividly. Everything is crap in the eyes of most teens. This is not an insult. This is just what I remember, as someone who used to be a teen herself not that long ago.

She has two best friends who are confident in their girlish behaviors. Let’s be honest. The best friends are the ones who wear pink without a fuck to give. Be proud of your girlisms. You want to be an emo girl. Go ahead. You want to be a cheerleader with sparkly underwear. I will clap my hands as if you are JLAW giving the paparazzi the finger. I love that her friends don’t backstab her, aren’t judgmental, and actually legitimately care for her. They want to hang out and dance at clubs. They want to dress Bianca up for her date, gossip, and watch sappy flicks like Atonement and Becoming Austen. I love these girls.

I loved the relationship between Bianca and Wesley. Bianca hates Wesley. You know how I said she slut shames, well she doesn’t just slut shame girls. Let’s look at this logically. If you have made the mistake of slut shaming, in addition to making sure you know your past stupid mistakes you don’t just slut shame girls. You also call guys man whores if they date those girls. Stupid? Of course. But, that’s how you see things when you’re a bonehead that doesn’t see the truth. But, in addition to slut shaming others she also admits that she’s a hypocrite because of her purely sexual relationship with Wesley. She thinks it makes her a slut.

“Bianca, whore is just a cheap word people use to cut each other down,” he said, his voice softer. “It makes them feel better about their own mistakes. Using words like that is easier than really looking into the situation. I promise you, you’re not a whore.”

I love that instead of addressing her feelings, she just wants escape by having emotionless sex. She initiated it. She’s very proactive this girl. She calls him out on his bullshit. She never lets him walk over her. Most parents and prudish people would be turning their noses up at this type of thing. But, you know what? Boys aren’t the only ones that have sexual desires. There are two people involved when having sex.

On most occasions, I would hate any guy like Wesley. But, he grew on me. While he has a huge ego and is generally a playboy all around, he gives reasons for his actions. You learn why he does what he does. I didn’t completely understand his home life issues, but I could still accept his reasoning. He’s a jerk at first, but he never did enough to get on my bad side to become irredeemable. For me a character has to do so many shitty things and so many redeemable things to match up so that I can forgive them, understand them, and understand their reasoning.

What I didn’t like is how she ignored her friends during these sexual escapades between her and Wesley. I also didn’t like how she handled her father’s drinking problem. You are a kid. This is something you need to let adults handle. You can’t just pretend things will get better. You have to call up your mom and tell her what’s going on.There are some faults in her writing like wrapping up conflicts too quickly (her father’s drinking problem or the way things were resolved between Bianca and Wesley). I didn’t understand how it didn’t occur to Wesley that he was insulting her when he was calling her Duffy all the time. How could you not realize what an insult that is? She’s not going to see it as some cute fluffy nickname you gave her. Why did I feel Wesley remained an okay guy? Because he fucking kissed her ass and truly apologized. There were scenes that felt out of place. The characters development seemed inconsistent at times.

Keplinger’s debut is fast paced, dramatic, and very relatable. She writes teens like they are, not what we would like them to be. She shows the shitty, selfish, and disgusting parts of what teens are really like.  


11 thoughts on “Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

  1. letyroxtar says:

    I think I need to read this book ASAP LOL it really sounds like an out-of-the-ordinary teen story. I also can’t wait for the movie. Your gifs and pictures are EVERYTHING!!! love it! 😀

    -Lety @ Gone With The Words

    • Brigid says:

      I was really happy with it. I thought the heroine was really relatable and very much a realistic teenage girl. The movie trailer looked so cool, but then I read Christina at reader fictions review of the movie. I was a little let down. I may still go see it. But, I don’t know if it would live up to my expectations now.

      Thank you! I try.

  2. Jessica @ Rabid Reads says:

    ZOMG, I loved this too. I loved it so much that I probably won’t go see the movie, b/c it will inevitably fall short of my expectations.

  3. Faye M. says:

    Your review was so insightful, Brigid! I know of being jealous of certain girls before when I was in High School, but I’ve never gone far as to say they were whores, but I can definitely understand that other girls may have done some slut-shaming at this point of their lives and not realizing it. I understand it, in a way, because it’s how society as a whole brings us up (thank god for information and the internet right now that have opened our eyes). I’ve read so many reviews saying this book truly does give you an intimate peek to how a high school life was like (I studied in an all-girls school so I don’t think I ever experienced the best high school could offer >_<) so I'll definitely gives this a chance!! 😀

    Faye at The Social Potato

    • Brigid says:

      Thank you so much. In high school, I remember girls being competitive all the time. It was all the fucking time and if a girl wore more revealing clothing, she as a called a slut. What I remember back then is that I wasn’t aware of this as a societal problem. I never said this, but I do know that deep down there was a certain hatred and jealousy I had towards these beautiful girls. It’s a problem and unless you learn about the problem you can’t fix it. I don’t like that this is how I grew up and how I was taught about what morals girls should have (especially because I grew up in a very religious place), but those are the facts.

      It really does give you a realistic example of how we come to realize the reality of slut shaming. It shows a realistic example of a teen. I hope you like it Faye.

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