Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ugly Duckling Syndrome


Written by: Kody Keplinger

Released: September 7 by Little Brown/Poppy

Summary: 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.

I’ve read this story before even though I haven’t read this particular book. That being said, it’s more of an observation than a critique or an accusation since this story is one of the quintessential types within literature. Plus, it’s highly steeped with Wuthering Heights and mirrors the love triangle as outlined within the pages. The one thing about this is how Keplinger put an actual name to those girls who are a part of any crowd. For all I know, DUFF is something that has been around for a while in other schools used to classify the “ugly duckling” in a group of friends, but this book was the first that I’ve ever heard of it.

Something else that this book did was really hit on the fact that every girl is a DUFF at some point and where there might be one within a group, chances are that her friends don’t think the same about her. In that way this book was fantastic for self-esteem and self-image for girls everywhere.

I loved Bianca’s character with all her snark and cynicism; I really related to her. And on top of her independent nature and feminism tendencies regarding relationships, I also related to her strong friendships and loyal nature. I know that I would for sure want her as a friend.

While Bianca’s friends were great – true friends – her love interests were what kept me reading. Wesley made me melt whenever I read about him, especially at the end. And his letter made me swoon. The relationship between the two of them was reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet in the way that it was “my only love sprung from my only hate” from the beginning to the end. But no worries, no one dies.

Then there was Toby. It’s not that I didn’t like him, but I agreed with Jessica 100% when she said that he wasn’t right for Bianca. He was polite and a real gentleman, but there wasn’t any fire between them at all.

I finished reading this book within a few hours. Partially because it’s rather short but mostly because it’s a fantastic read. Not only was it empowering, but it was realistic and non-floofy. Oh, and it was a fabulous debut novel! I give it a well deserved 8.5/10.

1 comment:

Angie said...

I just ordered this!! I've heard such good things about it. Can't wait to read it!