Author: Kody Keplinger
Pages: 280 (Hardcover)
Publisher: September 7, 2010
Release Date: Little Brown / Poppy
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 “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out 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.
Bianca Piper is sarcastic, cynical, and has the mouth of a sailor! Seriously, if you're offended by strong language, especially in YA, then you probably don't want to read this one. But I definitely appreciated her honesty; she tells things how it is, and doesn't hold back. She has especially strong feelings toward Wesley Rush, the man-whore of the school. He really is arrogant and pompous, but at least he knows it. When Bianca hits a rough patch, she goes to the most unlikely source for comfort: Wesley. One week she's throwing a Coke in his face, and the next she's in his bed. But there's no insta-love here, it's not even insta-lust. It's something completely different, and even Bianca doesn't fully understand it. She just knows it helps distract her from reality.
Even though it's an usual situation, it still felt like a realistic portrayal of what could happen. The author tackled some important topics in an open and honest way. We get to see Bianca's ups and downs as she tries to deal with her family problems and as well the realization of her role as the DUFF. It was amazing to me how that one word affected Bianca's outlook and set her on this entirely new path.
I loved the relationship between Bianca and Wesley. It started out completely antagonistic, turned into something extremely sex, then into something more. I actually ended up feeling bad for Wesley at one point. He's not just that guy who sleeps with any girl who comes along. He's vulnerable, and sweet, and so much more. He's exactly what Bianca needs, even if she doesn't want to admit that to herself.
This is a fabulous YA contemporary, and I think the author did an amazing job of capturing the teen voice (probably because she was one!). The characters were all great and realistic, and I found myself invested in their lives, and wanting them to succeed. This is a definitely going on my favorites list.