Published: April 5th 2012, Hodder Children's Books
Pages: 341 pages, ARC
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
My review: I am absolutely in love with this novel. The DUFF is a fun, sexy story about body image, self confidence and finding love (or lust) in the most unlikely place. Kody Keplinger is a strong new voice in YA fiction and I'm so happy The DUFF is being published over here in the UK. I picked up a copy of Keplinger's second novel, Shut Out, while I was in the US last year and I'm definitely going to get cracking with it asap.
I have so much praise for Keplinger - she took so many risks with The DUFF and they all paid off. There's swearing, sex, underage drinking; with another novel this might not have worked or could have felt gratuitous but here it just works and makes The DUFF stand out as one of my favourite contemporary reads of 2012 so far.
Bianca is a gorgeous heroine and if she wasn't dreamed up in Keplinger's head I would absolutely be taking her out for a glass of wine, just because she's so damn awesome. She's snippy and cynical and prone to bitchy one liners but never steps over the 'annoyingly quirky' line so many YA heroines stumble across at the moment. Wesley is brilliant - a bad boy who stops just short of being an actual douche bag but with so much personality and history. All of the characters in The DUFF read like real, developed characters with back stories and families, hopes and dreams - I genuinely cared about all of them and that's the strength of this book.
Keplinger is flying the flag for realistic YA and I'm so happy to find such an exciting new writer. So young as well! Love her - she is one talented lady. Oh, and I have to give her major kudos for the sexytimes - bang on, excuse the pun.
First line: 'This was getting old.'
Read if you liked…: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood - Eileen Cook
Total: 15/20 (B)