Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

"You, darling, are The DUFF. Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend."

The book does contain language that may be offensive to some and sex occurs but is never graphically described. The overall power message of the book makes it a worthwhile read.

Bianca Piper is at a teen night club with her friends, Jessica and Casey. She is the protective best friend who drags them away from the boys who might take advantage of them after a night of dancing, flirting and attracting attention. While wishing she was anywhere but The Nest, a guy who remarkable didn't smell bad sits down beside her, a change from the usual guys she unwittingly attracts. When Bianca turns to see who it is, she is angry that the school's hottest guy and biggest player, Wesley Rush, is trying to talk to her. When she begins to question his motives, he informs her that he needs her help. It is a proven fact that guys who talk to the Duff gets on the good side of the girls with whom she is friends with. Jessica and Casey are good looking and Bianca is their Duff, the designated, ugly, fat friend. Even if Wesley looks like a Greek god, Bianca knows that his soul was empty and black. Furious, she pours her Cherry Coke over his head. Grabbing her friends, they leave the club. At home later that night, Bianca catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and Wesley's words come rushing back. She wonders why they bother her so much. 

One night after a particular hard day at school, Bianca overhears her father begging her mother to come home during a phone call. A motivational speaker, her mother has spent more time on the road than at home since her own mother died. Making herself scarce until her father hangs up, Bianca walks in as if she has heard nothing. Asking what is wrong, her father tells her that he would really like some time alone. She calls Casey and the three of them head to The Nest. Drowning her sorrows over Cherry Coke at the bar, the bartender cuts her off when she has had too many. Worrying over her father being alone, he is a recovering alcoholic; she is frustrated when Wesley sits beside her. He is still hoping to score with one her friends. She keeps telling him to leave but he quickly senses something is wrong with her. Making her to look at him, Bianca cracks and suddenly kisses him. Shocked at first, Wesley responses and Bianca begins to feel better. Then Wesley does a stupid thing and Bianca comes to her senses. She slaps him. Storming off, Bianca is more upset with herself than with Wesley.

Doing well to avoid Wesley for over a week, one day their English teacher, Mrs. Perkins, pairs them up to write an easy together. Unhappy, Bianca makes plans for Wesley to come over to her house to work the following afternoon. Bianca has a girls' night in with Casey and Jessica instead of going to the homecoming dance. Coming home the next morning, she finds the house trashed. Her mother sent divorce papers to her father and he fell off the sobriety bandwagon. Beer bottles and pictures frames are smashed all over the living room. She hears her father snoring in his bedroom. Starting to clean up her father's mess, the phone rings. It is Wesley calling to say that he is on his way over to start working on their essay for The Scarlet Letter. Not knowing what her father will be like when he wakes up, Bianca tells him that she will come to his house instead.

Arriving at the Rush mansion, Bianca is unsettled when Wesley says that his computer is in his bedroom and that they will need to work there. Surprised by the vast space of his room, Wesley asks her what she would like to write about. He was thinking about why Hester had her affair and gives his reasons. Bianca shoots back that maybe she just needed the distraction. Her mind wanders back to the divorce papers her mother sent. Wesley says that if that was the case, it didn't end too well for her. While thinking back to another time, Wesley calls her Bianca Duffy and asks what she is thinking about. She snaps at him not to call her that. As he is asking, "are you okay, Bianca---?" She moves to kiss him. Surprised, he doesn't hesitate to kiss her back. When she pulls away, Wesley asks her not to slap him again. Wanting her mind blank, she does the unthinkable. She has sex with Wesley so that she can escape her problems for a little while. Afterwards, they get started on their paper. 

As she is leaving to go home, Bianca asks Wesley not to say a word about what happened between them. He asks if it is going to happen again. She thinks to what waits her at home. He then asks if she is alright. She rushes out of the house. Wesley follows her out to her car. He bends down to her level and looks her in the eye. He asks her what is bothering her. Wesley knows that something is wrong with Bianca. She can tell that he is being sincere. She whispers that it doesn't matter if she is or not and leaves.

The following week only goes downhill for Bianca. The one boy who broke her heart is in town for a visit, with his fiancé. Her father is in denial over the divorce papers her mother sent. And Bianca finds that the only escape is in the arms of Wesley, the boy who she cannot stand. But what happens when Bianca realizes that she isn't the only one having difficulties in life? Will Bianca be able to stay away from Wesley or is he the one good thing in her life? What will her friends think when they find out the secrets that Bianca has been keeping? Can she put her life back on track? What happens when Bianca realizes that she is falling in love with Wesley?

The DUFF will be released in theaters on February 20, 2015.

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