Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, a biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush, who calls Bianca the Duff--the designated ugly fat friend--of her crew. But things aren't so great at home and Bianca, desperate for a distraction, ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Ohhh the rant I could go on with this one, but I'll try to contain myself here. A little. I think I first heard a few people talking about this book on Tumblr. And then a bunch of my Booktube friends started raving about it. And then the movie came out, and I admit -- by then, I got caught up in the hype a little. I liked the idea of the book because really, who hasn't been the DUFF in our circle at some point in our lives. I was curious to see how the topic was addressed.
Wow, it's been awhile since a book actually made me angry by how awful it is. This girl got a movie deal outta this crap?! Can we just make time travel a thing already, 'cause I'm about done with this generation. And why were so many saying "OMG, I can't believe this was written by an eighteen year old? Such a fresh voice!" Really? REALLY?! This story reminded me so much of the crappy stories I had to listen to in jr high composition classes when gum smackin' girls scribbled some story down in their notebooks last minute for the class presentation assignments.
My main issues with the story:
1) Holy F-bombs, Batman! I'm all for a few properly sprinkled throughout a story for spice and emphasis but seeing them riddled on nearly every page of this thing just reeks of poor writing ability.
2) Bianca rants on and on about being called Duff or Duffy by Wesley but never actually stands firm against him doing it. She keeps allowing it but just keeps harping that "it's so annoying and hurtful of him" until the very end when she's basically screaming at him "don't you KNOW how much it hurts me?!" Well, considering you've been letting him get away with it the entire story... But Wesley is cornered into giving this big ol apology and THEN goes so far as to say he digs her because she calls him out on his shit. WHAA? Since when? A guy calls me a name I find offensive more than once, I just say "One more time." and then knee him in the bread basket. Problem solved. Female protagonists need to stop being shocked that men are rarely mind readers and stop finding fault with it.
3) The damn double standard! Every chapter has Bianca going on about what a "misogynistic womanizer" Wesley is, how he doesn't give a damn about feelings, just gets what he wants... but Bianca is the one that THROWS herself on him repeatedly because she "just needs an escape" from other life crap so why not use the womanizer for sex because he clearly has no soul, right?! The thing that really irked me was the first time it happens, she realizes what she's doing and hits him because she feels guilty for her own actions. The second time it happens, he asks her not to him him again and SHE TELLS HIM TO SHUT UP! And you get the vibe that Keplinger wants the reader to take this as an example of female empowerment. Well, I'm a female and I say that's just emotional abuse on a man.
I know the point of this book is for us to side with Bianca and cheer for her fighting for what she wants, fighting against the labels but JUST NO. I mean, I didn't really think Wesley was all that great but I saw him at least making attempts to do the right thing at times, trying to get to know the real Bianca. Bianca would just not stop whining and bitching about everything.
And you can also find the cliche storyline here: Girl gets heart broken by Boy A, finds herself uncontrollably drawn to "bad boy" Boy B, but then Boy A comes back into her life and AAKK, who does she choose?! GAWD, this book. A scourge on modern literature, it is.
Here's hoping the movie adaptation fixed this mess!