My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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 “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that 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.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed this book. I haven’t been big on high school/YA books for a while now, but this worked for me. But I’ll also confess that I really only pushed to read this book because I wanted to see the movie version of it.
I enjoyed Bianca and Wesley’s story. I loved their interaction and how he ended up being the person she turned to, not only to distract herself but for comfort. Every moment of them in this book made me really excited to see it play out on screen. It didn’t matter if they were fighting, bickering, talking, or kissing, I loved every scene they had together. I especially loved the note he left on her desk and the letter he sent her with the flowers. One of the things I loved most about the relationship between Bianca and Wesley was that they started out as enemies and it turned into an enemy with benefits relationship. They still fought, she still hated him…but she couldn’t stay away. That was different from most other books with a manwhore character. And of course, while they were enemies with benefits, things started changing and a real relationship started developing.
My biggest issue with the book came in Bianca’s relationship with her parents. I actually thought it was interesting that her mom left her dad and her dad fell apart because of it. But Bianca forgave her mom too quickly when she did show up again. Speaking of things happening too quickly…things with her dad were resolved too quickly after they turned ugly. It just wasn’t believable. Maybe the author left the return of the mom and ugly scene with the dad for too late in the book and she was rushed? But any way you looked at it, the resolution happened too fast. And the sad thing is, both parts of that story provided good angst and drama in Bianca’s life, driving her into Wesley’s arms and moving the story forward. There was no need to rush it.
Because of the definition of DUFF, I expected lots of teasing and even bullying in this book. But there wasn’t any. The only person to call Bianca a DUFF (aside from herself) was Wesley. But it totally changed the way she saw herself, her friends and those around her. It also didn’t help that he (somewhat) affectionately started calling her Duffy.
Overall, this book was nothing like I expected it to be. I enjoyed it very much and would definitely read more from the author.
Oh, and just because I loved it and had to include it, the letter Wesley sent to Bianca with flowers:
Since you keep running away from me at school, and, if I remember correctly, the sound of my voice causes you to have suicidal thoughts, I decided a letter might be the best way to tell you how I feel. Just hear me out.
I’m not going to deny that you were right. Everything you said the other day was true. But my fear of being alone is notthe reason I’m pursuing you. I know how cynical you are, and you’re probably going to come up with some snarky reply when you read this, but the truth is, I’m chasing you because I really think I am falling in love with you.
You are the first girl who has ever seen right through me. You’re the only girl who has ever called me on my bullshit. You put me in my place, but, at the same time, you understand me better than anyone ever has. You are the only person brave enough to criticize me. Maybe the only person who looks close enough to find my faults—and, clearly, you’ve found many.
I called my parents. They’re coming home this weekend to talk to Amy and me. I was afraid to do this at first, but you inspired me. Without you, I never could have done that.
I think about you much more than any self-respecting man would like to admit, and I’m insanely jealous of Tucker—something I never thought I’d say. Moving on after you is impossible. No other girl can keep me on my toes the way you can. No one else makes me WANT to embarrass myself by writing sappy letters like this one.
But I know that I’m right, too. I know you’re in love with me, even if you are dating Tucker. You can lie to yourself if you want, but reality is going to catch up with you. I’ll be waiting when it does… whether you like it or not.
p.s.: I know you’re rolling your eyes right now, but I don’t care. Honestly, it’s always been kind of a turn-on.
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