Publisher: Little Brown
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
My Summary: Bianca has always thought that her views on love and relationships in highschool are realistic. She doesn't delude herself into thinking that people can fall in love in a week and knows these couples never last, so she doesn't think highschool relationships are worth the drama. She tells herself she's perfectly content with the way things are...
Until one day when Bianca and her friends are at an all-ages dance and the biggest man-slut at her school calls her "Duff" and explains that out of her little group of friends, she's the designated ugly fat friend. She throws her drink in his face and storms out of the club, but his words haunt her... how could she have not seen it?
From then on, things begin to spiral out of control. Bianca goes to confront Wesley, but instead of putting him in his place, she ends up kissing him. And as things in her home life get worse and worse, she begins to use him as a distraction, agreeing to a secret friends-with-benefits relationship. But what happens when Bianca figures out that her distraction has become something more?
My Thoughts: This novel and I go way back. When I first heard about it a few years ago (before it was published) I immediately wanted to know more. It was one of the first books I added to my to-be-read on Goodreads, and I was extremely excited when it was finally released.
But I did that thing again: bought a bunch of books and pushed the rest to the back of the pile (wash, rinse, and repeat). It was only a few days ago that I was able to finally read it.
It was worth the wait.
First off, this book is definitely not for younger YA readers. The book is heavily based on serious relationships and everything that comes with them, so in a way, I'm glad I waited a few years to read it. Second, the story is told from an honest, genuine point of view. Nothing is sugar-coated (the cynical narration prevents that), which is, honestly, one of the reasons I really enjoyed it.
I also really liked the way it dealt with a lot of serious issues without making them seem like they overwhelmed the book. Bianca's issues with her parent are ones that a lot of people have had to deal with, and the author didn't make her seem like a saint for doing what she did for them. I personally thought that made her a lot easier to relate to.
Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to mature YA readers (over the age of 16 would be appropriate, I think).