Published: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Overall Rating: 5/5
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.
I picked this book up a little before 11 pm, last night. My intentions were to just read a few chapters, and go to bed. 1:15 rolled around, and Shanise (@CamisadoMind, shameless name drop. Pay her a visit.) asked via I.M. "Are you still up? Do you see the time?" She knew, like I knew, that my kiddos would be up in six hours, so it was probably a good idea to go to bed. That didn't happen. I read until I finished it, and by that time, it was past two. Needless to say, I'm tired today. Very, tired. It was sooo worth it though!
Let's just say, I loved it. I had absolutely no trouble connecting with Bianca as a character. In fact, we're so much alike, I felt like Keplinger crawled inside my head to create Bianca. Bianca's kind of a b*tch. I might, maybe, kind of have that reputation too. But my friends know how I am, and they love and accept it, just like Casey and Jessica--Bianca's best friends. I have a feeling she may be a problem for some readers, because some readers don't appreciate such an aggressive protagonist. I personally loved Bianca.
Wesley is a jackass. Unfortunately, I have a soft-spot for jackasses, apparently, because I loved him. And as the book progressed, I loved him more and more. As well as every other character in the book. I really don't feel as though there was a single character lacking anything in this novel. They were all unique, and lovable in their own ways.
There were certain scenes, and certain conversations, that opened some old wounds of mine. And then ground salt into them. While I'd rather forget the things I was reminded of through Bianca's story, it made me realize how much I really need to let certain things go. It also made me feel as though, most of us are the DUFF, in our own minds. Most of us don't see ourselves as better looking than our friends. We can all relate to Bianca.
Kody Keplinger has quite a future ahead of her. I don't want to say she's a "promising young author", because I don't feel as though she's "promising". In my mind, she's already delivered. I also don't want bring her age into this, because she's a great writer, whether she's 18 or 40. However, I do think her age had one advantage. She captured today's youth, in ways that a lot of authors can't. Or aren't willing to. The dialogue was spot-on, and she didn't dance around any of the subjects that many are afraid to address. I loved her voice, and I cannot wait to see what else she has in store for us.