Hayley’s Review of “The Duff” by Kody Keplinger

By: Hayley Green

The Duff has a very sarcastic narrator. It makes the book very entertaining, despite the fact that the narrator is very secretive and treats her friends like crap throughout most of the book. It’s understandable why Bianca treats her two best friends like that, though. She deals with a lot of crap. It starts with her mother always being gone, her parents getting a divorce, her dad relapsing into drunken rages after eighteen years of being sober, and her ex boyfriend, who treated her like crap and was dating someone else at the time, is back in town, engaged.

She complains about everything, but it’s in a humorous and entertaining way. Bianca is an intelligent, smart-arse character whom I loved. She starts sleeping with the school’s notorious playboy, Wesley, who helps her quiet her brain and escape her life and problems. They start falling for each other and find that they have more than a no-strings-attached sexual relationship.

I was surprised by how sexual this book was for being a YA categorized thing. I didn’t mind it though. It didn’t go into detail about the actual physical acts. It was more focused on Bianca’s emotional reactions to what is going on. It definitely was PG-13, though. It just surprised me because of the genre conventions of having the characters kiss and then alluding to the fact that they slept together without outright saying it. But it was quite refreshing.

This book was entertaining, and was set in a contemporary setting without any sort of supernatural element, unlike a lot of the books I have reviewed. I do read contemporary on a regular basis.

The book was an easy read, and I loved the way it treated female sexuality as a positive and normal occurrence. The romance was good and felt natural with the characters’ personalities and how it unfolded. I loved how I started to care about the characters and how they started to care for one another, gradually, but with genuine moments that hinted about their feelings before they realized it themselves.

I would recommend this book. I truly enjoyed it and it was a fun read.

Just be careful if you’re a teenager and live in a family that is quite restrictive about sexual matter in books. If you wouldn’t enjoy something with a bit more sexuality than normal YA books, then I suggest you avoid this one.

But, again, female sexuality is treated as positive and normal in this book, which is more than I can say for a lot of YA books. Let’s be real, most people are most sexual when they are teenagers, and it is often treated as negative or something to be ashamed about. This book changes that narrative and I can appreciate that.

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