The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Publication Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Poppy (Hachette Book Group)
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.I was expecting a fun and "easy to get through" book, and that is exactly what The DUFF delivered. Bianca is very snarky and cynical — and interestingly enough, I like that about her. In no way am I excusing her behavior, but it just strongly shows how flawed of a person she is. We're all like that sometimes, right? Other than that, I wasn't fond of her at all. The way she treated Jessica and Casey, two of her closest friends, was uncalled for. They wanted to help her through her home situation, but Bianca brushes them off every time they ask her to hang out and ignores them outside of school. I understand why she may be shutting them out, but to do that and run toward someone she claims she hates? I'm not okay with that.
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.
The DUFF was entertaining; I'll give it that. I can appreciate the overall message, but not the way it was delivered. I've heard the movie is quite different, so I'm interested to see what changes.
Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Poppy (Hachette Book Group)
While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food ... and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.I absolutely love reading books that take place in Europe - just thinking about the beautiful attractions and magical atmosphere make me want to hop on a plane - but it really bums me out when characters explore but don't describe their surroundings very well or "visit" a museum but don't actually go in. I wanted a taste of Florence and sadly, I was disappointed. I know this wasn't the main point of Love, Lucy, but I went in with that expectation. I was also a bit annoyed at Lucy and the way she treated some of the people in her life.
In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.
I didn't know Love, Lucy was a modern retelling of E.M. Forster's A Room with a View, so I cannot tell you how it compares because I've never read it. I can, however, tell you that it was just okay. I enjoyed it, but I didn't think there was anything special or memorable.
The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon and Schuster)
After her husband's sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she's planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn't she more excited?The Life Intended captured me from the very beginning. Although I am not in the same life stage as Kate, the main character, I still felt connected to her. When Kate started dreaming vividly of Patrick, it made my heart a little uneasy because I've also had experiences where my own dreams left me wondering, "what if?" I wanted her to be able to slip into this different world and I kept thinking, "HOW is she going to get through this?" Harmel did a great job at telling Kate's story. It seems like it would be sad, but it is very hopeful.
At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she's really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband's hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.
If you've read any of these three books, how did you feel about them?