Author: Kody Keplinger
Published by: Hodder Children's Books
Publication date: 25th February 2015
Genres: YA Contemporary/Romance
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Since it was announced that The DUFF would be adapted for the big screen, this book has been everywhere. It's been majorly hyped, and I've wanted to give it a try for a while, so considering I missed it the first time around, I was hugely excited when I received this for review.
And... by the end of the book, I was considerably less excited. I did like some of it. I'd almost go as far to say that, dialogue-wise, Kody Keplinger is the newer, sassier Stephanie Perkins. The characters are amazing; Bianca Piper is sarcastic, witty, cynical... this girl gets me, she really does. The entire book is hilarious and honest, and a few of my favourite quotes include:
"Spanish, huh?" he said, glancing down at the scattered papers as he grabbed them. "Can you say anything interesting?"
"El tono de tu voz hace que queria estrangularme." I stood up and waited for him to hand over my papers.
"That sounds sexy," he said, getting to his feet and handing me the stack of Spanish work he'd swept together. "What's it mean?"
"The sound of your voice makes me want to strangle myself."
"...we're all fucking Duffs."
"I’m not the Duff," Wesley said confidently.
"That's because you don't have friends."
"Your sense of humor needs some work, then," Wesley suggested. "Most girls find my jokes charming."
"Those girls must have IQs low enough to trip over."
As you can see, the writing was a bit clunky, but as long as the book is actually readable then I'm not usually bothered much by that. For me, the most important things about a book are the characters and the plot. I have to be invested in them - and, with The DUFF, I was. So why didn't I enjoy it as much as I thought I would?
As for Wesley Rush, he was really nasty to Bianca in the beginning, and I didn't like how that was romanticised. Should that mindset be promoted at all, especially in YA? But even that isn't why The DUFF didn't meet my expectations, and Wesley changed for the better in the end. The letter and the scene with Bianca's dad showed that, deep down, he was a good person and that he was usually just putting on a front. I won't say any more about that because, here at The Mile Long Bookshelf, we don't do spoilers. Much.
This is one of the most honest YA books I've ever read, and I'm very much looking forward to the next book. But, at the same time, I'm not sure the excessive hype was warranted. It was good in terms of dialogue - it was witty, funny, and I always love that. Sadly, everything else was a let down. It's not bad but it's nothing special.
Overall, the movie is so much better and that's not something I usually say. Nothing could ever replace such an iconic movie but it's like a new Mean Girls, and if I had to recommend either the book or the movie to you, it would be the movie - every time. Gah, these three-star reviews are annoying, aren't they? To conclude, it's an enjoyable book but not one that you need to rush out and buy immediately. Sad times.