Thursday, March 19, 2015

*ARC* The Duff: Book and Movie Review

The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

By: Kody Keplinger

Published: February 25, 2015

300 pages

Source: Netgalley ARC from publisher

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
I try really hard to read books before I see a movie if it's in a genre I like. Young Adult is definitely one of those genres. But the timing just didn't work and my interest level wasn't high enough to read this until AFTER I watched the movie and it then became an ARC on Netgalley. I enjoyed the movie so much so I decided to request it.

Well....I was slightly letdown. I enjoyed the movie a lot more than the book, which is rare. But my reasons for that are down below when I feature a movie review in my From Books to Movies feature.

So this book, for the few that haven't read it yet, is about a high school senior, Bianca who is happy being her, quirks and all, until a super hot senior guy named Wesley calls her The Duff. Not having a clue what he's talking about he explains this stands for the "Designated Ugly Fat Friend" - but not to be confused with the fact that Duff's aren't always ugly, or fat. It really is a classification to describe the one friend out of any group that is less physically appealing than the rest. In Bianca's small group of friends, Wesley has deemed her The Duff and as such has nicknamed her "Duffy". As the feminist that she is, she is enraged by his repulsive rudeness and verbally abuses him with insults. It's how they communicate best. Fighting.

Bianca and Wesley have a strange relationship...not solely based on looks but for whatever reason they find themselves sexually attracted to one another and as the synopsis says: they become enemies with benefits. She doesn't have feelings for Wesley other than hate, and he's effective at what he's best known for in the school: being a man-whore.

As any great book though, there's a deeper point and that is that Bianca and Wesley have more in common than they realize. Wesley has abandonment issues with his own parents and Bianca is going through a major struggle in her own family with her mother never been there and her Dad turning to alcohol.

Though I don't condone the behavior of Bianca, it was actually kind of sad to see her spiral downward, the book still had it's entertaining factor - just not as high as the movie did.

Favorite Quotes:
Sometimes it's better to be clueless.

The mind-numbing sensation I got from kissing him was so euphoric - such a high - that I couldn't stand to give it up that fast. I might have hated Wesley Rush, but he held the key to my escape, and at that moment I wanted him...I needed him.

Language Rating: 3 (high)
Mature Content Rating: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 3.5 stars

For this edition of From Books to Movies, I'm going to share my thoughts on The Duff movie.
Released: February 20, 2015
Casting: Mae Whitman as Bianca, Robbie Amell as Wesley, Bella Thorne as Madison (not a character in the book, but this character is the same as Vikki in the book)

In a rare situation I actually enjoyed the movie more than I did the book. Here's my top reasons why I liked the movie better than the book:

1. The movie doesn't portray Bianca as a promiscuous teenager and for good reason. With the number of teenage girls who no doubt would be seeing the film, having such a character probably wouldn't have sent the best message to those younger teens seeing it.

2. Where the book focuses more on Bianca using sex with Wesley to escape her feelings and life situations, the movie focuses more on Wesley and Bianca becoming friends (of sorts) and they agree on an exchange: she tutors him and he helps her become more physically attractive. 

3. The book has a lot of language, loads of "F bombs" and others. This amount of language in a movie would've definitely given it an "R" rating - which would've limited the age of those who would and could see the movie. To reach a broader audience the movie toned down the language to that of PG-13. Yes, it still has language but no where near what the book has. 

4. The book deals with some heavier topics: alcoholism for one; the movie was more upbeat and humorous and completely leaves out the alcoholic Dad from the book.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie more because it was sweet, funny and had an equally good message, even if slightly different in getting there than the book took. 

My movie rating is 4 stars.


  1. Nice dual review. I was thinking that I also gave The DUFF 3 stars, but when I went to look at my review I gave it 4 because I kept wanting to come back to the book. I DO think that this is one of those situations where the audiobook made me enjoy it more than just reading it. I do think you're right based on your review that the movie is probably more enjoyable.


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