The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
by Kody Keplinger
After a horrendous break-up with her "boyfriend" when she was only a freshman, Bianca's pretty much sworn off love. It really only causes problems and everyone suffers in the end. Love really takes years to get to, anyway, so why waste trying to find it in high school?
So she's settled on just being best friends with two of the prettiest girls in school and watching them have fun. Now all she has to do is finish her senior year and she'll be off to college.
Unfortunately, she has a bad night with her friends when they all go to a club and leave her at the "bar" to drink Cherry Cokes and watch them dance the night away. That's when Wesley Austin, known player and man-whore, sits down to talk to her. He explains that she's the Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend). If he makes nice to her and makes her happy, he may be able to sleep with one of her pretty friends, since he'll have scored points with them by talking to her.
This becomes too much to deal with for Bianca, who's never thought of herself as anything so negative before. She's always been herself (even sometimes rudely so), but always true, real, and a real friend.
She gets more bad news when her family falls apart in front of her very eyes and the only time she ever feels like the world doesn't suck is when she's in the arms of the very same man-whore who started it all: Wesley.
Can she find her way back to herself and maybe even to love? And will Toby Tucker ever finally give her the time of day?
Final thoughts: We've all felt like the Duff before. It's natural. But knowing that we ARE the Duff and being able to turn that into a positive can be very difficult. Keplinger also references The Scarlet Letter and Wuthering Heights to great affect, hopefully inspiring others to read those, too. Overall, it was a good read and very self-affirming. Bianca's story is fairly realistic and honest.
WARNING: this is a YA book, but it is definitely for more mature readers. There is sex and foul language, which, while honest for many 17-year-olds, may be inappropriate for younger teens.