I want to admit right away that I likely wouldn't have kept reading The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger (2010) much beyond the beginning pages if I didn't regularly read and enjoy her blog so much.
That being said, I'm (a) glad I kept reading and (b) convinced that someone younger would appreciate this book much more. There are times that being forty while reading a book written for--and by, in this case, as Kody is a teenager--current teens is a disadvantage. I certainly felt a generation gap while thinking "I'd never have gotten to know this jerk better. Well, maybe when I was 17 I would have, but I wouldn't waste my time on someone who treated me that way now."
"This jerk" is Wesley Rush, the guy who gets around in school, and the first one to refer to our heroine, Bianca, as the Duff of her group. He even starts calling her Duffy.
Somehow, smart, loyal, snarky Bianca still manages to fall into a fling with Wesley. File it under "dealing with an alcoholic father and a disintegrating parental marriage," I guess.
Still, that gives Keplinger the chance to show that Wesley is so much more than his reputation. While not perfect, he's also dealing with his own personal and family-related issues.
Can their fling (or "hooking up") lead to something more?
I'm glad I kept reading because I really enjoyed Bianca's witty charm. I just wish she had a little better taste in guys. Maybe that will come with age?
Again, I think fans of YA fiction, especially those who are teens now, will enjoy this book.
My overall personal rating of The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend is a B-.