January 22, 2011

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Audiobook read by: Ellen Grafton
Date Started: January 2011
Date Finished: January 19, 2011

Summary: Bianca Piper is the average cynical teen hanging out with her beautiful friends at school. She is approached by the school playboy, Wesley Rush who calls her "The Duff" the designated ugly fat friend and on top of that he wants her to put in a good word to her hot friends about him. She promptly splashes her soda in his face. A few weeks later, she's making out with him and eventually leads to something more. And it turns out, he's not that bad of a guy and that maybe there's something more than just sex. But of course, Wesley would never like Bianca. For one thing, he's a manwhore and he would never tie himself down with a girl. And most importantly, Bianca's the Duff and nobody ever goes for the Duff.

Likes: The characters and the voice made up for most of the qualms I had about this book. Bianca was funny, her friends (though annoying to me) were exactly the friends Bianca needed and they were surprisingly well-fleshed out. (And the voice actor did a good job differentiating them). There were a lot of things going on in this novel, divorce, self-esteem issues, sex, relationships, and they tied together pretty well. I also really liked the theme of facing reality. The actions you do have consequences, they don't exist inside a bubble. Bianca may have thought that her relationship with Wesley was just between them, but it was affected the relationship with her friends and family.

And for the most part, I didn't have an issues about how sex was handled in this book. (except for the Vicki). As ideal as it would be for people to just wait until they were ready, the fact of the matter is that not everybody does this. And not everybody has sex because they are in love. Bianca does it for distraction and for her it seems plausible. The relationships (for the most part) are portrayed realistically

Dislikes: As a whole, while the story is pretty good, I'm having a little trouble with the believability factor. I can't place my finger on it, but it seems like something is off about the whole build up to the relationship. I guess I just wanted to see some conflict. It was a little bit too easy to get together. I wanted more tension between the friends and keeping face at school.

I wasn't a big fan of the whole minor Vicki subplot towards the end of the novel. It drew me out of the story and it was incredibly preachy to me. I'm not sure what to think of her character, however minor she was, she almost doesn't seem necessary except to serve as a cautionary tale, as if Bianca's crisis wasn't already enough.

Overall: The story was okay. Even though I'm pretty sarcastic and cynical, I couldn't really relate to Bianca's character. I guess the reason why was that she had such a low opinion of herself, which is realistic, but being as headstrong and forceful as she was, you'd think she would have told Wesley sooner about how the word Duff and the nickname Duffy hurt her. Some of the pacing was a little off to me and things that I wanted to know more about were glossed over.

Listening to it was a strange format opposed to reading it and I think I might have liked it better had I actually read the words. I found myself getting distracted, trying to find something mindless to do with my hands and eyes without zoning out. It happened a few times, but I think I found something to do while listening without missing things. It's definitely a new experience to get used to, but my whole body needs to be engaged to fully commit to an audiobook.

Recommended by: It's been getting good reviews all around the internet and I was curious to read it.

Acquired: Audible.com, I had a credit that I could use to purchase the book, so I figured that I might as well use it on a book I wasn't sure I wanted to buy outright.

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