The DUFF is s a fun, refreshing book about Bianca, a cynical high school senior who finds that hooking up with a guy she despises is a good way to run away from problems. Doing due diligence, I found that a lot of people think that Bianca hooking up with a boy she hates is disgusting and/or terrible. It never even crossed my mind because I got the impression that she doesn’t hate Wesley, she “hates” him. Haven’t you ever “hated” a guy? I have. I “hated” the hell out of a certain boy with a generic name. Hating him was easier because I thought there was no chance he would notice me, because he always picked the girls who were hot (i.e. not me), and because it was original (girls were either indifferent or obsessed with him) which was extremely important to me in my formative years. The book was written in first person, which is why Bianca doesn’t put quotation marks when she says she hates Wesley. She doesn’t know she “hates” him, the book is a process of her adding quotation marks.
What The DUFF lacks the most is attention span. Conflicts and problems are solved too quickly – parent problem, boy problem, friend problem – it all goes away in a whirlwind of cynicism and good will of other characters. Lackadaisical approach to sex could be considered a bit problematic, I guess. But it’s fiction, right? We should have some faith that kids today can tell the difference between fiction and advice. When I was sixteen if I read in some book which said that casual approach to sex is ok if you don’t get pregnant, I still wouldn’t have exclaimed in jubilee: “Yay, I’m gonna buy a ton of condoms, get on the pill and start screwing around!” The DUFF might not be among the best. It did not make me giddy, it did not make me fall in love with the male protagonist (didn’t make me feel anything about him, actually), but it was worth the time and it served it’s purpose – it entertained me.