Magan: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Released: September 7, 2010
Pages: 280
Target Audience: Young Adult
How I found out about it: It was on the recent return pile at my local library and I’d considered checking it out 1.5 million times before.
: Hardcover borrowed from the library.
Summary:Bianca is crazy tough and super critical; she has two amazing best friends and life is coasting along as normal until a few things happen. 1) Her Mom files for divorce. 2) The boy who broke her heart returns to town. 3) Wesley (resident hottie) calls her the DUFF – designated ugly fat friend. 4) As a way to escape the chaos of her life, she and Wesley become involved.

Oh, let me count the ways I love Kody Keplinger.  Can I first take a moment to give her major props for being eighteen years old and in her senior year of high school when she wrote this book? Wow to how un-accomplished I felt when I read that on the back flap of the book.

Just by the title of the book I felt certain that I’d be able to connect with the story. Designated Ugly Fat Friend = DUFF.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that in a circle of friends, this term implies that one girl isn’t quite up to par so that everyone else looks prettier by comparison. Did you ever have those moments in high school (and, hello, let’s just be real for a minute – even today) where you felt uglier than your friends? Less than? Substandard?

I did. I got my curves at an early age and begrudgingly welcomed womanhood into my life a lot earlier than I would have liked, all while the rest of my friends remained sticks. Bianca’s two best friends, Casey and Jessica, were characters I admired. Though Bianca did feel like the “ugliest” friend, I didn’t ever feel like she was treated in any way that suggested she was being used by them. I applaud Keplinger for keeping it real and for really bringing out our girly insecurities. In the end, she makes a beautiful point about how we’re all insecure. We all have our baggage and issues.

Bianca chooses deal with her drama in a very physical way. Whereas I go shopping when I’m feeling down and blue, Bianca starts a fling with Wesley – the very boy who calls her out as the DUFF. Their relationship is unhealthy and wrong on so many levels; they’re both using each other and not dealing with any of the issues in real life. Despite their very sexual relationship and Wesley’s womanizer attitude, I admired the boy. He stood up for Bianca at all the right times, he said some of the funniest things that made me belly laugh and want to read through the pages as fast as I could to discover what happened when everything imploded in their lives.

This was my first Keplinger novel, but I’ll definitely be picking up another soon. In fact, Shut Out was released September 5, 2011. Oh, happy day!

*We’re adding something new to all of our reviews. Some of our readers want to know immediately whether they should OWN, BORROW, or SKIP a book if they’re short on time and can’t read the whole review. We’re adding our thoughts to the bottom of every post so you can get a better sense of how we feel at a quick glance.

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8 thoughts on “Magan: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

  1. Melanie says:

    I definitely thought Keplinger kept it real in this novel, even though sometimes it made me wince a bit.

    I’m stopping by after reading your review at GReads, Magan!

    • Magan says:

      Melanie, I agree! She did a great job being honest telling the story. I can’t wait to read more of her work. Estelle just finished Shut Out. I’m anxious to hear what she thought about it! Thank you so, so much for swinging by the blog today! 🙂

  2. Jamie says:

    Ya know..I have heard a lot about Kody Keplinger’s books. You either LOVE them or vehemently hate them. It kind of made me nervous to read them. Some of the things that people HATED about them were things that I too would hate BUT some of the things that people said they LOVED about them were things I would love. So you can imagine how confuzzled I’ve been. I ALMOST borrowed this from our library’s Overdrive system as an audio but didn’t. I think I’m going to next time just to see what it’s all about!

    • Magan says:

      Hey Jamie! I’d say you’re probably pretty right about the love it or hate it thing. I’m curious to know how you feel about it after you read it. You should definitely check it out. Be careful with the audio book… um, there are lots of sexytimes…

  3. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    So I have a personal relationship with this book. It was my favorite read of 2010, after all. I identified with Bianca’s character SO MUCH it was scary. From her insecurities, to the most unhealthy ways she dealt with them. That was all of me. I think now that I am older and have moved passed all of that, it’s made me appreciate this book. I know what it’s like to be THAT girl. It sucks. I also know what it’s like to get mixed up with a Wesley for all the wrong reasons. However, my Wesley didn’t come crashing in to my house, confessing his love for me. We’ll just ignore my version of the story, haha. Anywayyyyy I love me some Kody Keplinger. I definitely think you should check out Shut Out. She has such an awesome way of telling it like it is. She’s definitely not afraid to approach those touchy subjects with teens. I truly admire that.

    Awesome review! and I am loving that new feature at the bottom. Very, very clever.

    • Magan says:

      I will definitely check out Shut Out. I really want to. I was definitely shocked by how in-your-face she was with telling the story. I am guessing she does a better job at relating to the emotions because she was writing about a person who was close to her age. She got it. Connected with it. I admire that a lot. I requested her newest book at ALA – hoping it arrives in the mail. 🙂

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