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Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Young Adult
Kudos to the 18-year-old Keplinger for writing a heroine whose complicated relationship with sex is honest and heartbreaking. This for-more-mature-teens novel deftly illustrates how even consensual sex can be emotionally destructive, and captures thoughts about self-image and the many different types of relationships. Expect to be recommending The Duff to friends for years to come.
Bianca has never thought of herself as “the beautiful friend,” but when her school’s biggest player, Wesley, tells her she is the group’s Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) she is shocked by his cruelty. As Bianca’s home life spins out of control, to keep her mind off of the trouble, she begins using Wesley for the physical attention he gives her. But when things spiral out of control, Bianca must question everything. (POPPY, Sep., 288 pp., $16.99, ISBN: 9780316084239, HC, 16 & Up)
Reviewed By: Whitney Kate Sullivan
Published: September 2010