Published by Poppy (9.7.2010)
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 280 pages
Source: I own it
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 “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out 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.
I honestly wasn’t even sure I would like this book, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it!!
For a girl with such a fat ass, I was practically invisible.
I think the main thing that made me like this book is that I connected with Bianca on a very deep level. She was like me in so many ways it was scary! I found her very relatable, which led to me developing a connection to her story. As I was reading, I was just like, “Omg she sounds like me. This is me, in my head.” (She even had the ringtone “Womanizer” for a womanizer!) I also love that it’s a book about a sexual relationship. That’s something you really don’t see much in fiction, especially Young Adult, and when you do it’s generally viewed in a bad light, or paired with slut-shaming. Bianca and Wes were friends with benefits, but it was perfectly okay. I loved it! There’s nothing wrong with sex. It’s just sex. Sex is not bad. And yes, it can be an escape. I think that’s something that really drew me to this book and made it relatable. Sometimes you do things maybe you shouldn’t, but it’s okay. And you never know a person’s reasons for having sex with someone. I love that this book had a very anti slut-shaming tone and some strong judgement free vibes!
I didn’t know Vikki that well. I didn’t know what her home life was like or anything that personal aside from her boy issues. And standing there in the bathroom, listening as she told me her story, I couldn’t help but wonder if she’d been running away from something, too. If I’d been judging her, thinking of her as a slut all this time when, in reality, we were living scarily similar lives.
Calling Vikki a slut or a whore was just like calling someone the Duff. It was insulting and hurtful, and it was one of those titles that just fed off of an inner fear every girl must have from time to time. Slut, bitch, prude, tease, ditz. They were all the same. Every girl felt like one of these sexist labels described her at some point. So, maybe, every girl felt like the Duff, too?
I do think that maybe the audience for this book should be a little more mature. There is a lot of sexual content – the book is basically about sex – and also a lot of strong language. But I think anyone over the age of like 14 has probably been exposed to that kind of stuff in society, anyway. I just think 12 and 13 might be a little too young for this book, since technically that’s still the demographic for YA.
“Most girls find my jokes charming.”
“Those girls must have IQs low enough to trip over.”
Despite the fact that I’m not a fan of romance, I thoroughly enjoyed the romance in this one. I loved the slow burn it had going! No instalove here, folks. At first they meant nothing to each other – Bianca even hated Wes – and the more time they spent together, the more attached they became. I loved it! Those are my favorite kind of relationships!
I read this book because I wanted to see the movie first, but I read that the movie follows a much different story arc, and that it has nothing to do with sex but focuses more on the high school popularity/mean girl trope. Because of that, I honestly have no desire to see the movie anymore. I enjoyed this story too much to see it changed!
I freely admit that I hate girls who say they love someone before they’ve dated them. I don’t hide the fact that, in my opinion, love takes years – five to ten at least – to develop, and high school relationships seem incredibly pointless to me.
That was her choice. Her life. And it wasn’t my place to judge. It was never my place to judge.
And as I walked down the hall, I decided that I’d think twice before calling Vikki – or anyone else for that matter – a whore again. Because she was just like me. Just like everyone else. That was something we all had in common. We were all sluts or bitches or prudes or Duffs.
I was the Duff. And that was a good thing. Because anyone who didn’t feel like the Duff must not have friends. Every girl feels unattractive sometimes. Why had it taken me so long to figure that out? Why had I been stressing over that dumb word for so long when it was so simple? I should be proud to be the Duff. Proud to have great friends who, in their minds, were my Duffs.
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5
I’m glad that you really liked this book, Jessi. I’ve been meaning to read it since way back when, but I still haven’t gotten to it. It’s literally been on my shelf for so long, so I think I might have to read it ASAP, especially after reading your fantastic review.
Bianca seems a lot like me, so I’m really hoping that I enjoy it. :)