The D.U.F.F (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) - Kody Keplinger: Review

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The D.U.F.F (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) is the latest book by author Kody Keplinger. It has been on my too read list since it was published and so as soon as I got the book I had to start reading. Sadly I wasn’t as impressed as I hoped I would be.

The book is written from the view point of Bianca Piper; she’s smart, cynical and loyal but doesn’t always think that she is the most attractive out of her friends. That doesn’t really bug her until the “man-slut and slimy school hottie” (actual quote from the blurb of the book, I would never refer to any guy as a ‘hottie’) Wesley Rush just happens to tell Bianca to her face that she is ‘The Duff’ also known as ‘The Designated Ugly Fat Friend’. She is the friend that everyone needs to make themselves feel better, skinnier or more attractive by being around. Now if a guy referred to me as a ‘Duff’ I would probably smack him round the face. Bianca on the other hand kisses him because ‘she is angry’. Having never kissed someone because I was angry at them I wasn’t sure  if this was something people actually do.

The whole relationship between Bianca and Wesley is very rocky and certainly not healthy by any stretch of the imagination. Both Bianca and Wesley are very flawed characters, down to the point of being highly unlikeable a points during the book so I found myself not being as involved emotional when it came to their relationship which was certainly sad.  

Keplinger is only a young author, The D.U.F.F was published when she was only eighteen years old and I feel like this is very much reflected in her writing style but is is surprising seeing as at times characters fall into the dreaded ‘teen speak’ way of talking most commonly found in books written by adults who seem to think they know how teenagers really speak (P.C Cast, the author of the House of Night series commits this crime throughout her series of books and has to be one of the most unrealistic writers when it comes to creating teen characters. Her characters are some of the worst written I have encountered in teen fiction). Keplinger’s characters sometimes fall prey to the dreaded ‘teen speak’ which was a distraction for me while reading the book. Now this sin’t a badly written book, in fact I would say it’s a good teen book but a lacklustre main relationship and not quite stellar characters do let it down in parts.

Overall Score:

3.5/5


How To Fall - Jane Casey: Review

*Includes brief spoilers*

Freya drowned, everyone knows that but was it an accident, suicide or murder? That is what her cousin, Jess Tennant wants to find out.

Jess is determined to find out the truth about Freya’s death during her summer spent in Port Sentinel, the childhood home of her mother which holds more secrets than Jess thought possible.

Jess soon discovers that poking around Port Sentinel is dangerous and that everyone could be a suspect in Freya’s death from the bitchy self-absorbed ‘mean girl’ Natasha who made Freya’s life hell to Freya’s own so-called best friend Darcy to Freya’s childhood friend Will, all who seem to be hiding something.

The plot to this book really interested me from the start but the I did find this book to be lacking. The character of Jess can be brash and incredibly mouthy, sometimes I just found her to be very rude and unbelievable at times and I couldn’t emote to her character really which is sad seeing as she’s the lead character of the story. Many of the characters (such as Natasha, Dan Henderson, Darcy and even Will) have little to no redeeming features or are too much of caricatures, they are just too brash or too mean when in reality people do have filters to stop them from being this way really. At times it really did feel like people were trying to turn Jess into Freya and Jess moving into Freya’s room just took the biscuit for me in the end.

It’s a shame that stale characters and, at times, lazy dialogue let this book down because I feel like it could have been a lot better. I might look into more of Jane Casey’s writing but I doubt I will jump to read another Jess Tennat ‘thriller’

Overall Score:

3/5


Bitter End - Jennifer Brown: Review

Jennifer Brown has been an author on my ‘To Watch’ list since I read Hate List last year. I loved Hate List, it was a well written and very powerful read by a firs time author. When i heard that Jennifer had written Bitter End I was very keen to read it as it explored serious issues just like Hat List did.

Bitter End explores that sensitive subject of domestic violence in young relationships. It is  growing concern across the world and many people are campaigning to give teenage and young adult couples more help with domestic violence and abuse. I was very keen in seeing how Jennifer Brown explored this sensitive subject.

The story behind the book is that of Alex, a smart girl who has a slight obsession in travelling to Colorado due to the fact that her mother died when travelling to the very same place. When Alex meets the charming and funny athlete Cole that pretty much sweeps her off her feet she cannot believe that someone like him is interested in her; but Cole is interested in her and he is one person who fully understands the complex Alex. However, over the following months Alex cannot ignore the small put downs that Cole throws at her. When Cole soon starts using violence against Alex she cannot ignore it any longer but can she really leave the person that she is convinced is her soul mate?   

I must say that I really wanted to like this book because I was a huge fan of Hate List but I found the character of Alex incredibly annoying throughout the book. I know a lot of people would say “Oh if I was her I would leave him” “Oh I would never let myself get into that situation.” but throughout the book you actually find yourself thinking that about the situations that Alex gets into. She tends to throw her friendship with her best friends Bethany and Zack even though she constantly tells Cole that the friendship between them is very special to her. Once Alex begins dating Cole you see that her friendship with Bethany and Zack pretty much fall by the sidelines though Bethany and Zack can slightly be to blame for that during the story. 

I must say that I pushed myself in reading this book due to Alex’s annoying character but I am glad that I finished it. The book does get better in the final two chapters when Alex finally wakes up to Cole’s behaviour but those final few chapters sadly don’t make up for many chapters when I wanted to shake Alex in seeing how much of a bad person Cole was. 

Sadly this was not as good as Hate List but I might have to re-read it in a few months to see if it gets any better. If you are looking for a great book that deals with an abusive relationship then try “But I Love Him" by Mandy Hubbard (Writing as Amanda Grace)

Overall Score

3.5/5

posted 1 year ago

Jennifer Brown’s Bitter End came today. Will review when finished.

posted 1 year ago

Bitter End - Jennifer Brown: Next to be read and reviewed

I am a fan of Jennifer’s book Hate List so I am looking forward to reading this book.

posted 1 year ago

This Is Not A Test - Courtney Summers: Review

Zombies are the next big thing in culture thanks to popular shows like The Walking Dead, films such as Dawn of The Dead, I Am Legend, Shaun of The Dead and the upcoming World War Z starring Brad Pitt. 

Literature involving zombies that are marketed at the teen audience are either incredibly well written like Warm Bodies or just lacking on several fronts like several teen based zombie novels. This Is Not A Test almost creates a a new sub-genre within zombie novels - the zombie novel that doesn’t revolve around zombies.

The focus of the novel is on Sloane Price. Her world dissolved six months before when her sister ran away from home leaving Sloane alone with her physically abusive father. When her town of Cortege falls due a virus which turns the residents into ‘zombies’ Solane sees this as a way to live out her final days until she finds a way to either locate her sister Lily or die. 

Solane, along with five other students, hauls up in her local high school to protect herself from those infected with the virus. Over the coming weeks Solane and her fellow students try to wait out the treat of dying while each battling with their own personal problems.

Courtney Summers is one of the most important young adult authors of the moment, I my opinion, with her brutally honest realistic fiction and I think that is what makes this novel work so much. It isn’t cliché or campy like other zombie related novels. It doesn’t rely on the genre of zombies to make the book a hit, instead the book lets the characters like Solane, Grace, Rys and Cary blossom with such real personalities. While other books rely on characters that pander to the reader or fall into the ‘Mary-Sue’ category This Is Not A Test gives us flawed characters, character that you might not even like but their stories are so compelling that you have to carry on reading.

While different to her other novels This Is Not A Test has that same wonderful spark that makes Summer an incredible author and this book is certainly one of her best books in recent years.

4/5

posted 1 year ago

Paradise - Joanna Nadin: Review

I have been a fan of Joanna’s work since the first Rachel Riley book. When she brought out her first non-Rachel Riley related teen book, Wonderland, I quickly brought it/read it and loved it so when she released a second YA solo book, Paradise, I snapped it up.

Paradise is an amazing book that tells us of Billie Paradise, a sixteen year old girl from London who inherits a house in Cornwall from her dead grandmother Eleanor. While in Cornwall she begins the hunt for her father and on the way Billie discovers a lot about her family and herself.

The whole book is an up and down roller-coaster and the difference in points of view really helps the book. You see the different views of Billie, her mother Het, her grandmother Eleanor and also from the characters of Tom, Jonty and Alexander who all play roles in Billie’s story. 

The book is fantastic and the twist in the end of the book is really wonderful. I didn’t want to stop reading the book at any point because the book was so well written. The book shows how much of a talented author Joanna is and she really does need more recognition. Well done Joanna.

4/5


My copy, shipped here from the US because the UK does not stock it anywhere and even Amazon.co.uk had to have it shipped over, finally came this morning. I shall now spend day not doing any of the things I had planned and shall read this epic book.

posted 1 year ago

Hate List - Jennifer Brown: Review

Hate List, written by Jennifer Brown, is a book that be described in one word and that word is ‘powerful’

I read this book in a day and a half, I could not put it down and ever since then the story and the characters have stayed with me.

Valerie Leftman is trying to piece her life back together after the shooting at her high school, the shooting that resulted in her getting shot in the leg, the shooting that her boyfriend was invloved in, the shooting in which her boyfriend was the one whom shot her and finally the shooting that she could have accidentally instigated. After all, she wrote the ‘Hate List’, the list that her boyfriend Nick was using when he went on his rampage. Now Valerie has to face up to what Nick did and what she was involved in.

Told through flashbacks mixed in with the present ‘Hate List’ tells us how Valerie coped after the shooting and how her life has changed. I thought this book was incredible, the writing was well thought out; Jennifer Brown is a very good author and the character of Valerie litterly leapt of the page and sat next to me as I was reading. Her emotions were so clear that at several times during the story I found myself in tears. The chacters of Jessica, Dr Hieler and even Nick were powerful. The final chapter had me sobbing and the ending was brilliant and left you tihnking that Valerie could do anything with her life.

I really would recommend this book and Jennifer Brown is an author to certainly watch.

4.5/5


Entangled - Cat Clarke: Review

Well…that was an interesting ride.

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with table, pens and paper—and no clue how she got there.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she’s tried to forget. There’s falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there’s something missing. As hard as she’s trying to remember, is there something she just can’t see?

Then, in a story full of dangerous revelations, Grace must face the most important question of all: why is she here?

I read this book because I had read Cat’s other book ‘Torn’ and I had loved it so I thought I would give this book a try. I have terrible luck when it comes to reading other books written by the same author as they have a tendency to let me down (eg. Jay Asher, Jenny Downham and Lauren Oliver have all written books which I have loved but their other books have fallen flat for me) so I a bit apprehensive of reading this book but I was pleasantly surprised with Entangled. The choppiness of the book actually works for me as it really pushes you to find out what happens to Grace.

There were only a few cons for me. At the start I was worried I wouldn’t like the character of Grace because of her generally being but luckily that wasn’t the case near the end of the book. The characters I did have problems with were Sal and Nat. They both started off as decent enough characters but their actions to Grace were horrible and Sal’s reasoning near the end of the book was actually really bitchy even if she says that it wasn’t.

The other thing was that I pretty much guessed the whole thing with Sal and also Nat near the beginning which drove me a bit insane. The same with Ethan, I pretty much guessed who he was halfway through the book but apart from that I was very impressed and I’m looking forward to reading more of Cat’s work.

3.5/5

posted 1 year ago