We take a break from our regularly scheduled Freaky Friday...
My head is spinning with the amazing books coming out in the next few months. MOCKINGJAY and THE CLOCKWORK ANGEL are atop my list, but the book I'm most excited about is THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger*.
"DUFF" is an acronym for Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Uh-huh. In any group of girls there is the one who is "not quite", as in, not quite as popular, not quite as pretty, not quite as fit. To gain the sympathy of the more attractive girls, guys who want to score befriend The Duff.
So a guy gets a hottie and the homely Duff gets a little attention--win/win, right?
When man-ho Wesley Rush sidles up to "Duffy" Bianca Piper she throws a Coke in his face. Then she, um, kisses him. This is only the start of a very complex, secret relationship, where self-identity and motivation and desire all come into play.
Bianca is an absolutely fascinating character. She's angry. She makes questionable choices. She messes up. But still, I was wishing so hard for her eventual happiness. She made me laugh (often), cry, and sometimes want to throttle her. This girl is feisty, and you'll love her for it.
Wesley is also not your standard two-dimensional romantic interest. Just like Bianca, Wes is not the character equivalent of a shallow kiddie pool, but a guy working through some very real issues. Bianca starts to see the many layers hiding under Wesley's playboy exterior, and, because of Keplinger's skill, it's as surprising to the reader as it is to our heroine.
I finished THE DUFF wishing I had a teenage daughter to share it with. THE DUFF is not a book you finish with a sigh and return to your bookshelf--you'll want to carry it around and talk to your friends about it until the wee hours. We've all felt like the Duff as some point in our lives, have we not? It's this message that elevates THE DUFF from a great teen romance to a classic young adult book of lasting importance.
*Full disclosure: Kody and I share an agent and I think she's a fabulous person. BUT, even if she was a complete stranger I would love, love, love this book. It's really so very good.