Monday, March 21, 2011

The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
Kody Keplinger

I hate when I put off reviewing books for awhile and then come back only to have forgotten most of a book or why I did or didn’t like it. Forgive me readers, but I’ve come to a bit of a slump when it comes to reading (and reviewing) books.

Anyways… The DUFF, or designated ugly fat friend, refers to the one female friend of the group who isn’t quite as beautiful or maybe as interesting as the rest. Bianca Piper is THAT girl amongst her two best friends. Bianca knows this subconsciously, and for the most part is ok with it, but it isn’t until class playboy and total d-bag, Wesley, personally calls her a DUFF that Bianca becomes self conscious. As if it wasn’t enough already that her friends are totally gorgeous, but when Wesley tells Bianca that he is only talking to her to get inside her two friends pants, Bianca angrily throws her coke all over Wesley.

While Bianca knows that she shouldn’t let the harsh words of scum like Wesley get to her, she can’t help but dwell on her nickname. Things certainly don’t look up for Bianca either, when she and Wesley are assigned to work on an English paper together, requiring outside school time to complete the homework. As tensions rise at home for Bianca and divorce threatens to destroy her family, the last thing Bianca needs is aggravation from the school man-slut. But without a proper outlet for all of her emotional buildup, Bianca horrifyingly finds herself kissing Wesley – and liking it. A very surprised (and smug) Wesley reciprocates, and the two find themselves using each other. Of course, like any other no strings attached relationship, Bianca soon finds herself (gasp!) crushing hard on Wesley. The question becomes whether Bianca will actually admit to herself that she wants more from Wesley than just fooling around, and whether Wesley could ever be attracted to the DUFF?

Final thoughts? I liked this book. While I found the plotline very unlikely; not the part where a total hottie falls for the less attractive (but by no means ugly) girl, but the interaction between the two main characters…(this is high school after all, is a guy really going to profess his love in a note the way Wesley does?), I really enjoyed the characters, especially Bianca. She reminded me a lot of Jessica Darling in Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings ET. Al. I love a snarky female character who is very sure of herself. While Bianca may not have had the best self-esteem at times, she was very level headed for a high school girl. She realized that it was pretty ridiculous to be in love with someone at the high school age. She saw through what most teenage girls (at her school and otherwise) could not, especially about Wesley. At the beginning of the story, much to the bewilderment of her friends, Bianca had no interest in Wesley. She saw through his attractiveness and saw what a creep he was. It was only until getting to know him and his situation that she discovered the front he put up for everyone.

I really liked that Keplinger mentioned everyone feeling like the DUFF in some shape or form. No one is completely happy with their looks. It was refreshing to read about Bianca’s two friends confessing to having doubts about their appearances as well, beautiful or not. I look forward to reading more by Kody Keplinger. I wish I could write as well as she does, especially being as young as she is!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's day bloggers! May the luck of the Irish be with you all!!!

check back soon for more book reviews to come!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have
A Novel by Allen Zadorff

rating: 8.5 out of 10 "books"

High School is hard enough without being a size 48 waist. For Andrew Zansky, High School is just one more place where he can be reminded that he doesn’t, and will never, fit in. As the second fattest kid in school, an average day for Andy means trying to squeeze into his pants, praying that he’ll fit into his desk at school, and hiding from a beating by the school bully. However, as much as being overweight sucks, Andy has grown to mostly accept it; it’s in his genes after all. His friendship with class clown Eytan and involvement in the model UN club at school almost makes up for the over-protectiveness of his caterer mother, absentee father, and over abundance of flab.

Of course all this changes once he meets geek chic April. Knowing he has zero chance with her, Andy can’t help but try to dream up a plan to make April his. So when a routine bully pummeling leads to a chance encounter with O. Douglass, captain of the football team and teen dream guy, Andy is presented with the opportunity to drastically change his fat nerd status: by joining the football team. All of a sudden Andy is embraced by the popular elite of his school. No longer a “nobody,” Andy finds himself hanging out and attending the popular crowd’s parties and other extracurricular activities. April, who’s joined the cheerleading squad, is now part of his everyday life. And best of all, as a football player, Andrew’s “fatness” has become an asset and not a detriment, helping him protect quarterback O. Douglass on the field.

The big question Allen Zadorff’s (notice any closeness between the names Allen Zadorff and Andrew Zansky? Could this novel be semi-autobiographical?) novel asks is “how far would you go to fit it?” Because while Andy is enjoying all the perks that come with his new life, it has meant giving up some of his old; like his previous friends and activities… even risking his life on the field because of his extreme asthma, all so he can maybe have a chance with April. But Andrew is finding out the hard way that fitting in and being popular may not really be all that it is cracked up to be.

I really enjoyed this novel. I feel like there’s not enough YA books out there that a lot of guys can relate to, and “Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have” is a book that anyone; guy, girl, fat, thin, young, and old can relate to. The story told from Andrew’s point of view is written so humorously, that while you feel bad for Andy’s situation, you can’t help but laugh at little at some of his comments. The best part of this novel though, I thought, came at the end when Andy (through the course of events) realized that being popular really was not all that great, and that some of the popular kids who he thought were his friends really were not so wonderful. I think this story is a great lesson in loving who you are and not trying to change yourself for the approval of others. So to all the jocks, the princesses, the loners, the basket cases, and the geeks (breakfast club reference anyone?!), go out and read this book!