Friday, September 3, 2010
THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger
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.
We have had a draft in Blogger since March with a list of things we wanted to remember about THE DUFF when the time came to review. At its core, THE DUFF is about empowerment and it will be a great conversation-starter among girls. We've all been The Duff at one point or another and it really doesn't feel good. In fact, I recently went to a Bachelorette party and came home whining to Lisa about being just that (worse, I'm a MOM-Duff. Brutal.)
I've made a solemn promise to myself to give this book to my daughter as soon as she's old enough for the big "sex talk." Although right now, I think we'll be sticking with Good Night, Good Knight. Kody handles teen sex realistically and responsibly. I love that she didn't punish her characters for having sex and I love that they actually enjoyed it. I mean, sex feels good, right? Why do so many YA books make it into this horrible, awkward exercise in morality?
Bianca learns and grows throughout the narrative and comes to terms with her sexuality and the labels our society slaps on women as a result. I think the conclusions that Bianca draws at the end of the book will surprise and enlighten teen readers. Smart parents will use this book as a way to talk to their kids about sex and to educate and empower their daughters. I hope to be one of them someday.
Despite the fact that Kody is getting settled for her second year of college and oh, I don't know, trying to promote a book that releases September 7th (have you ordered yet?!), she agreed to answer our questions. She's awesome like that.
1. Tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
A girl uses a boy to distract herself from bigger issues. It's an edgy, sexy romantic comedy for older teens.
2. Where did you get the idea for THE DUFF (as the official idea whores, we have a vested interest here.)
Well, I was introduced to the word "DUFF" my senior year, and my reactions towards the word varied from horror to amusement. I knew, though, that I was the DUFF of my group. I joked that I wanted to write a book called the DUFF where the heroine didn't pull down her ponytail and take off her glasses and suddenly become beautiful. Nor would she be an angel who the antagonists would later see as their savior in some way. No. I joked that I wanted to have a Duff that was a "total bitch."
I never actually planned to write the book, but I was plotting this idea that featured an enemies-with-benefits relationship at the time. I say plotting, but I really mean saying "I really want to write something like this because love hate romances are awesome - thanks for showing me this Chuck and Blair!!" But I had no ideas. None.
Then my friends and I had a convo about "DUFFs" and they all said I wasn't the DUFF, they were. Then it hit me that we ALL feel like DUFFs sometimes, and my joke of writing the book became a little more serious.
And then, one night while I was in the SHOWER, I heard the song "I Can't Stay Away" and it just hit me like BAM that my enemies-with-benefits story and THE DUFF were meant to be the same book. That's when Bianca and Wesley took shape for me, and I started writing right away.
Seven months later, my agent sold THE DUFF to Poppy. And the rest is history!
3. Someone has a pair of scissors to your head (oooh, SCARY!) and you have to choose: Awesome title or gorgeous book cover?
I have picked up bad covers because I saw the title and went "WHOA, that is fabo." So I"m going to go with my gut on this. Title title title
*hides from scissors*
4. When did you know you had to be a writer?
Never. I still don't think I "have" to be a writer. I've always LOVED writing, but I'm painfully realistic, so to me, I HAD to have other options with better chances. I don't have to be a writer - I WANT to be one. It's not something I'm forced to do. It's something I enjoy, I love, and I chased. I still plan to have other jobs outside of writing, too. And I hope my WANT never goes away and becomes a HAVE TO.
5. Twizzlers or M&Ms?
Wait, is this a real question?
Who WOULDN'T pick M&Ms?
Don't forget today is the last day to leave a comment for a chance to win all of the amazing books we featured this week! Good luck and we'll see you Monday!