“Compulsive reading, with a sassy heroine you’ll find yourself rooting for against all odds.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
The fact that I love the YA genre gets me a lot of flack, especially considering my other literary choices, but I don’t care, I still enjoy it, and I think The Duff is a great example of how awesome a YA book can be, while at the same time showing the one major fault of the YA genre.
‘Duff,” is an acronym for “Designated Ugly Fat Friend.” Keplinger introduces this acronym in the first chapter when our protagonist, Bianca, gets referred to as The Duff by Wesley Rush. Instantly, Wesley is set up as Bianca’s foil because he is a horny teenage good looking boy and Bianca is an intelligent and sophisticated self-proclaimed feminist. Keplinger strays from somewhat “normal” YA territory when Bianca, in an attempt to escape hard to deal with emotions, kisses Wesley. In her own disgust, she throws her cherry coke on Wesley, but Bianca has tasted the forbidden fruit of emotional distraction, and she likes it. Not Wesley so much, but the distraction. Numbing emotions is one of the biggest reasons people drink, overeat, and do drugs, and Keplinger embraces this psychological motif while Bianca embraces her panacea in the male form.