Published: September 7th, 2010
Rating: 5/5 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 “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."~Goodreads
I had put off reading this one for awhile because I was afraid that it was over-hyped. Boy, was I wrong! This book was fantastic. The main character, Bianca, was funny, snarky and and just fragile enough to really have me invested in her story. The character building in general is great in this book. Aside from Bianca we also have the nasty, but seriously hot, Wesley, her two best friends (who just happen to be gorgeous and popular) and her father who is a recovering alcoholic. We watch Bianca as her parents' marriage falls apart and she has to deal with her father's grief as well as a developing "no-strings-attached" relationship with Wesley and all the consequences it comes with. Wesley is definitely a nasty person, but we also get to see his softer side which is nice. The best part about Wesley, though, is that we don't see his good side until Bianca does. Next there are her friends, Casey and Jessica. It would have been easy for Keplinger to write them as Mean Girls or bimbos, but they are true friends who have Bianca's back and really care about her. Finally there is Bianca's dad. He and Bianca are very close, but his downward spiral throws a serious wrench in their relationship and the author does a fabulous job of writing his character so that I felt for him, but maintained the fear and anger that Bianca feels.
The best part about this book, though, is the message. This is a book about words, and more than that, labels. It is a story of what happens when we put each other in boxes and how our thoughtless words can seriously damage someone else's psyche. More importantly, though, it is a book about not letting someone else's words take your power away and being good to yourself. I truly love this book and I think it is something everyone should read.