Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy DUFF day!!!

I can't deny it. I love books.

But it's very very rare that I read a book where I think, OMG, I SO wish I could travel back in time and give this to my teenage self.

That's exactly how I feel about Kody Keplinger's The DUFF. I feel lucky that I got a chance to read it at age 24. But I feel like I needed to read it circa age 15 - back when I completely hated my body.

In your middle teens, you're absolutely sure that your friends are at least ten times as hot as your plumpish/pimply/frizzy-haired self. But what if the hot guy at your school tells you that you're the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to your face? What if you - for instance - respond by throwing Cherry Coke in his face? What if - maybe a couple weeks later - you start hooking up with him? And then - gasp! - FALLING FOR HIM?

Well, that's exactly what happens to The DUFF's main character, Bianca Piper.

(I know. Kody Keplinger had me at the hook, too. But it's so much more than that.)

What makes this novel shine is Bianca's voice.

Bianca's the kind of character that invades your head and never leaves - when you think about her later, you kind of forget that she's not actually a real person. I would've LOVED to have her as a best friend. She tells her story with the kind of brutal honesty and hidden vulnerability that defined my teen years.

It was the kind of book that when you had to put it down - to go run to the next gate in the airport, to go pick up your two-year-old cousin from daycare like I did - your mind circles back to it again and again. You want to find out what Bianca is going to say/do next, and if Wesley (the jerk) can get any hotter, and if she's really going to pick drippy Toby (the crush) over Wesley.

And the scene where Bianca talks to Vikki in the bathroom and realizes a few things about DUFFdom - Well, that made me want to run to the phone, call up my bffs from high school, and read them all of Chapter 26.

Then when you finish, you want MORE, and are very very sad it's a debut novel and you have to wait a whole year for the next Kody Keplinger novel. Sigh.

So, people - go out, find The Duff, and meet Bianca.

Her story won't let you go any time soon.

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