Thursday, 2 July 2015

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger: Book & Movie Review

Title: The DUFF
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Buy this book: Amazon (US) / Amazon (UK) / Book Depository
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. And eventually, through this realization, Bianca begins to see how harmful her unhealthy way of dealing with her problems has been, and finds a way to confront them head on.
I am the first to admit that I have a problem with buying books and then just leaving them unread on my shelves for years. The DUFF was one of those books, and I am so mad at myself for waiting so long to read this book. I'd keep looking at it on my shelf and thinking that I should really hurry up and get to it, but four years went past and it just never happened. That is until the film trailer dropped. The movie looked like it was going to be so much fun and I knew I just had to read the book before I went to see it. I am so glad that I did because I ended up absolutely loving this one, even if it turned out to be completely different to what I was expecting.

The trailer for this books movie adaptation had me expecting this book to be quite a light, funny but somewhat predictable and clichéd read. But you quickly realise that the book is going to be a lot different from the 'geek girl works with popular jock guy to become less of a DUFF and score the guy!' type storyline that the movie is obviously going for. I am so glad that turned out to be the case because this book brought so much more to the table. It's been one of the stand out reads for me this year and I really wish more YA books were like this.

The copy of The Duff I have has a very tiny blurb on the back that really gave nothing away, which is probably why I was expecting a book similar to the film. I was not expecting the whole enemies-with-benefits storyline that I go. But I LOVED it. This was a much more realistic YA book than I have been used to seeing recently and I really enjoyed it. It's also a tiny bit more... I wouldn't exactly say steamier but you get the general idea.

Bianca was a character that I almost immediately fell in love with. She was such a funny, highly sarcastic girl, who knew who she was and what she needed and went for it. She had her problems and issues to work through, but overall she was a fantastic character that just spoke to me. She is a really down-to-earth girl and she just feels like a breath of fresh air next to some of the completely hopeless female heroines I've had to deal with as of late. Bianca is dealing with problems in her every day life, her mother is touring as a motivational speaker and hasn't been home in months, and her father is a recovering alcoholic. She kind of hates Wesley Rush for many reasons, and his calling her a DUFF - designated ugly fat friend - doesn't exactly help his case. But she realises he can be the perfect distraction to her problems.

Wesley is a character that took a little while to grow on me, but when he did I just loved him too. That's saying a lot, seeing as I thought he was a super mega douche at the beginning, what kind of a guy just calls a girl a douche. But that guy won me over and now I am rather in love with the boy. And yes, Bianca and Wesley might just be one of my new and top OTPs. I ship them, I ship them hard. And I actually really wasn't expecting the enemies-with-benefits storyline, not just because I didn't see a blurb, but because Bianca thinks Wesley is a womanising piece of shit at the beginning.

I am so grateful this turned out to be nothing like what I had assumed. There was no cliched queen bee character trying to take Bianca down. She wasn't trying to become something she isn't and she went after what she wanted. It surprised me for many reasons, but I was just so glad to read such a refreshingly real YA book, that gave a much more realistic portrayal of real teens and real teen relationships.

This book made me certain that I would go out and get my hands on everything I could by the author. She wrote such a wonderful, realistic and, at times, messed up YA read and I loved every minute of it. The romance in it wasn't your typical romance and it doesn't play out exactly how you think it would. I really appreciated the way the author handled the sex in this book and the differences between how it's viewed when a teenage guy is having sex and when a teenage girl is. This book deals with slut shaming, and how teenage girls have to deal with being judged if they embrace their sexuality. Bianca can be viewed as a whore, but Wesley is not made to feel ashamed or judged at all.  Keplinger handles this subject so well.


5/5 Butterflies


This book completely surprised me and it's one of my top reads of the year so far. I loved the romance in this book and how that was handled. I also applaud Keplinger for how she confronts the issues of slut shaming and self esteem, and how words can have a lasting impact on people. This book feels like a breath of fresh air and a stand out amongst most YA romance books. I know this is a book that I will be coming back to reread again because it was just such a brilliant story. I recommend this a million times over and to literally every person alive right now. Can you read? If the answer is yes then I see no reason why you shouldn't go read and love this book. And even if the answer to that question is no, you best go out and get yourself an audiobook so you can listen to the awesome! 



This is a weekly meme that I am hosting here at Reviews from a Bookworm. To take part all you have to do is share a movie review once a week, link back to Reviews from a Bookworm and add your link to the linky tool.


This weeks movie review will be for:



As you can see from the review above, I absolutely loved The DUFF book. So I was excited but completely nervous to watch the movie. After reading the book and then watching the trailer for the movie, it was pretty clear that this movie wasn't going to be winning any points for sticking to its source material. It was quite clear that this was going to be vastly different from the book. And for once that didn't bother me. I knew it going in and I knew not to expect a loyal adaptation. And you most definitely do not get one, this is 100% nothing like the book. But I really enjoyed it regardless. 

How I felt about the people who wrote
this movie adaptation.
You need to know, especially if you're a fan of the book, that the book and the movie are too vastly different things. Characters are added and changed, some to the point where they are hardly recognisable as the characters I first met in The DUFF book. Now The DUFF was a fantastic book that I absolutely loved - it gave a very frank, real and honest portrayal of being a teenager and having relationships at that age. It looked at how teenagers handle having an active sex life and the difference between how a man is treated and how a woman is. It was a truly fantastic book, but I'm not quite sure it would have worked nearly as well as a movie.

As far as a film adaptation goes, this movie was really disappointing. It changed so much of what I loved about the book and basically turned this into another teen movie. But I really enjoyed it. I'm sorry, I did. I'd prefer the book over the movie any day, but just being viewed as a film and not an adaptation, I really enjoyed it. So this might be your stereotypical teen movie, that can be highly predictable and clichéd, but I think it worked and I enjoyed it. 

Tv Movie animated GIFI can give you one very important reason that this movie worked for me and why I still loved it, despite the fact it is nothing like the book. What truly won me over and made me thoroughly enjoy this movie was the superb casting of it's leading lady: MAE WHITMAN! That woman completely steals the show. She is absolutely hilarious in this film and she was probably the only reason I didn't end up completely devastated with how they didn't stick to the book at all. 

Movies Mae Whitman animated GIFI really do hate how much they changed Bianca's character though. They made her so hopelessly dorky and a little bit useless in this movie and the person who is desperate not to be the DUFF, and just wants to get the guy. Book Bianca was so much deeper than that and had so much more to offer. She was much more sure of herself and who she was, even if being called a DUFF did have a big impact on her. But I am glad that she was still a funny character, even more so in the movie because Mae Whitman is absolutely hilarious. This was a really cute and funny film and had me laughing so much in the cinema - even the boyfriend admitted it wasn't the worst film I have ever dragged him to see.

To enjoy the movie, I do have to separate it completely from the book. If I think of it in terms of an adaptation of one of my favourite books of 2015 then I really just want to curl up into a ball and cry about how horrifically wrong they got it. But in terms of just another teen movie, it was hilariously funny and I loved it! Maybe it's a guilty pleasure watch for me, I don't know. But I know I will be buying it on DVD and having a rewatch when I can.

Don't be expecting an enemies-with-benefits storyline here. Don't be expecting a sexually confident Bianca either. This is the girl trying to get a makeover to impress a guy kind of storyline, which is so overdone. But it works here because it doesn't play out the way you would expect it to. I wish it could have gone the grittier route, like the book but I knew what I was getting in when I went to see this. I'd seen the trailer, I knew not to expect something profound.

I hated that they felt the need to include the stereotypical queen bee character, your total Regina George. She doesn't even exist in the book and I don't get why she was necessary. It really didn't help the movie and made it so predictable in so many way. It meant we got the big speech from the main character at the end, trying to show the evil queen bee the error of her ways. Why was she needed? It was like they just grabbed a carbon copy Regina George and shoved her in so we had an antagonist to add to the story.


Thoughts & Rating as an ADAPTATION

1/10 

As an adaptation of the movie... IT SUCKS! It wins no points and it's lucky to even get one star for that. It kept none of the great gritty, real and unique feel that the book had. It adds in unnecessary characters and changes others. It makes Bianca, a character I adored in the book, so much less than she should have been. It just wasn't what you would want from the adaptation at all. It has almost nothing in common with the original source material and kept nothing of what I loved.


Thoughts & Ratings as YET ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE

Movies Mae Whitman animated GIFIf I can pretend that this isn't an adaptation of one of my favourite books of 2015 -which is quite easy considering it is NOTHING like the book- then I can actually enjoy the movie. I can enjoy it as a teen movie. It's fun and funny and made me laugh out loud, with a cute romance thrown in. But it doesn't go deep and explore any of the real issues, like the book did. It's just very light and breezy and skin deep. But it did make me laugh a lot and was enjoyable enough to watch. And yes, okay, this might have everything to do with Mae Whitman. She was just sooooooo funny in this film and my favourite part about it. I don't think I liked much else about it other than her, but she won many more butterflies for this movie then it would have got if someone else had been cast in that role. If your looking for funny, easy film then I would definitely still recommend this.


16 comments:

  1. I have been meaning to read The Duff for a while as well! I don't have a copy though yet, so I am going to have to continue waiting when it comes to this one. It sounds like it is going to be a wonderful read though, and I am so looking forward to it! I love the sound of the themes that run through the book and also Bianca as a character. I know the movie is completely different - as so I have heard and I am going to go in knowing that they are different and try to judge them separately! Great reviews :3

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    1. I really hope you love it when you do get to read it. The movie really is different, it shares nothing but the title really. But you can enjoy it as a teen movie if you don't think about the fact it's based on such a brilliant book.

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  2. I fully support all of your rating decisions! I really loved the book too -- sped through it in an afternoon and just could not get over the two of them either. I was sooo disappointed by the movie when it comes to true to the source material, but at the same time it was funny. That clothes trying on scene above though **cringe**

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    1. Thanks! I just really wish they could have done an adaptation that was actually like the book. THAT SCENE MADE ME CRINGE SO BADLY. It was actually painful to watch.

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  3. I loved the movie but the book left me wanting unfortunately. I just found it so dull! Glad you liked it though!

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    1. I was the opposite, loved the book more than the movie.

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  4. I love how you reviewed these together. I have to say The DUFF book really didn't work for me. There were elements of it that I really enjoyed, but in general I couldn't get into it. I delved deeper into why I felt this way in my review if you want to check it out. I was planning to review the movie but didn't get around to it yet. Like you though, I found that the bits I actually enjoyed in the book (the non-stereotypical parts) were the very parts they left out, and they teened it up. I was disappointed, but as a standalone movie I enjoyed it. I just wish they had left some of the more original aspects in! R x

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    1. I will definitely need to check out your review. I will go hunt it down on your blog. I liked the film but preferred the book a lot more.

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  5. Hi - So often the movie fails to live up to the potential in the book. I loved your review of The Duff and think I need to add it to my list. Thanks!
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

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  6. Haha, i do the same thing where I buy books and don't read them for a couple of years. Anyway, I'm so glad you enjoyed The DUFF! I really liked it and I agree that Wesley isn't someone you love straight away but after a while you can't help but adore him :)

    I haven't seen the movie yet but it's a bit disappointing to hear that it's not a great adaption. I also don't know anyone else who's seen it and read the book so I'm not sure. Maybe when it comes out on DVD I'll give it a go :) Great reviews!

    Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf

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    1. I really did and thought it was a wonderful book and I loved it.

      It wasn't a great adaptation, but I enjoyed it as a standalone teen movie.

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  7. I, too, have owned the book for awhile, but have yet to read it. I've also been putting off the movie until I DO read it. I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the book so much. Bianca sounds like an awesome leading lady, and I'm glad that the romance is both realistic and swoon-worthy. I've only read Shut Out by the author, and while I didn't love it, I liked it enough to give her another try.

    It sucks that the movie wasn't a great adaption. If I do end up watching it, I'll have to pretend it isn't an adaption. I tend to like teen movies quite a bit, so hopefully if I do that it won't piss me off.

    Great reviews!!

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  8. Ugh yes, I saw the movie just after I read the book (I really, really liked the book) and it was SUCH a bad adaptation. They changed the whole point of the story! I think I might have liked it better if I watched the movie first... possibly. I want to read LOL now, I have a review copy I need to get to, I hope it's as good as the DUFF. Nice reviews + I love your choice of gifs, as usual :)

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  9. I've heard so much about this book and movie and it looks like they are completely different! As a adaptation, it doesn't sound very faithful at all but I'm glad you still enjoyed it as a movie. HELLO BOOK BOYFRIEND! Both of these sound like they have some great positive things about teenage relationships. Lovely reviews, Charnell!

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  10. I loved the book so, so much. Like you, I also enjoyed the movie, but not as an adaptation. The changes in Bianca's character and in all other characters as well were, in my opinion, unnecessary. And the mean girl....come on, it's been used so many times before, it's not even funny anymore. I love Mae Whitman too, which is why I wanted to watch the movie. I think she was the perfect Bianca, or at least in my head she works as book-Bianca.

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