The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
by Kody Keplinger
Published: 1st January 2014
Seventeen-year-old Biana Piper knows she’s not the hottest girl at school, but when school jock and resident moron Wesley casually refers to her as a Duff – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – the gloves are off!
If there’s a thin line between love and hate then Bianca has crossed it. She just never thought she was capable of breaking anyone’s heart…
I decided to get this book after I saw it on many Booktuber’s shelves. I kept seeing it pop up, and I thought I’d check it out to see if it’s worthy of a place on my bookshelves. I looked up the blurb, and it sounded like a nice, light, young adult contemporary read, so I was sold and I ordered it.
I’ll be honest, I considered putting the book down after the first 80 pages. I initially didn’t engage with the plot or the character. I persevered and ended up quite enjoying it. When I began reading the book, I was struck by the author’s voice. I normally don’t feel this way when reading Young Adult books but I felt this voice made me aware of my age, and made me feel old, which is daft because I’m only 24 years young. Anyway, this threw me a lot at first but once I’d gotten used to the style, I found myself enjoying this story more.
The main character, Bianca, was frustrating at times, I wanted her to ‘get a grip’ sometimes, and I had to keep reminding myself that at that age everything was just as dramatic. She does hold on to the concept of ‘The DUFF’ a little too much. I suppose this suggests authenticity for the characters, because I think in her situation at her age, it would have played on my mind a lot too. She contradicts herself a lot throughout the book, as she’s obsessively worrying about the connotations of being ‘The DUFF’, but does things that would suggest she isn’t. If it were me, I wouldn’t put myself into the situations that would exacerbate it.
The overall plot was engaging. I was interested in seeing how it developed and was wrapped up. I’m glad I decided to stick with it, and get to the end. The pace was reasonable enough to keep me going, and I eventually warmed towards the characters and cared what happened to them. I was happy with ending, and I liked that I saw character develop.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. I didn’t love it, and I wouldn’t rush to read it again. I hate to say this but I think I was too old for this particular book, and that it was lost on me. I know my younger self would have adored this book. I also hear this book is being adapted into a film, so it’ll be interesting to see it on screen.
I would absolutely recommend this to the people closer to the characters ages, I think they’d really enjoy this.