Seventeen-year-old Bianca is whip-smart and cynical to the bone. She’s also painfully aware that she’s not the ‘hot one’ in her group of friends. When she gets told on a night out that she’s a DUFF - designated ugly fat friend - by the school’s resident man-whore, Wesley, she goes ballistic at him, but Wesley and Bianca are both about to find out that ugly is as ugly does and that attraction isn’t always skin-deep.
I really liked Keplinger’s style of writing: it’s very no-nonsense and down to earth, much like Bianca herself. The plot flows well and it’s not all about the growing attraction between Bianca and Wesley: there’s plenty else going on as well, especially in Bianca’s home life. It’s also an interesting look at how attraction isn’t always about someone’s face. The plot is really relatable, because, let’s face it, we’ve all felt like the DUFF at some point.
The only gripe I have with it is...well, it’s the main premise of the book, actually. Bianca can’t stand Wesley and he’s just called her fat and ugly, so she throws a drink in his face and then starts kissing him. <shakes head> What?? Sorry, by ‘kissing’, did you actually mean ‘kneeing him in the junk’? No, you actually meant ‘kissing’, didn’t you? This progresses fairly quickly to sex. Again, why would you have sex with someone who has such a negative image of you? And I get that people do things for bad reasons, low self-esteem and so on, but although Bianca has problems in her life, she seems such a wise, clued-up character that I wanted to reach into the book and poke her. Hard. In the middle of her forehead.
Poor kissing/sex choices aside, I really liked Bianca. She could be frustrating in her actions, but she was refreshingly honest and her narrative made me laugh out loud. She was cynical and bitchy enough to keep me laughing, but had enough vulnerability to make me care about her.
Wesley was a bit of a knob, but that’s exactly what he was supposed to be. He does grow as a character through the book, but he’s still a little bit of a knob at the end, and I quite liked the fact that he doesn’t do a complete one-eighty.
So yeah, in all this was a pretty good read.
And by the by, have you seen the girl who plays Bianca in the film? In what alternate reality is she fat and ugly? Shut the front door. Talk about fodder for giving girls a negative body image.