The DUFF: Book vs. Trailer

In my Taylor Swift Book Tag I mentioned how much I was looking forward to reading the DUFF (=Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger and now I finally got around to it. As you may or may not know, I buy a lot of the books I read after watching the trailer for their movie adaptation and this one was no exception. All throughout the comments on YouTube people complained about how different the movie looked from the book. I thought this was just the usual annoyance that came with movie adaptations barely ever being faithful to their underlying material, but now I can tell you that the two are really nothing alike. I don’t know what the studio was thinking when they produced this film, but it has nothing to do with the story the book tried to tell.

So, basically the movie looks like a typical generic teenage RomCom – nothing wrong with that. Themes like the one from “She’s All That” and “Mean Gilrs” have been copied a million times for a simple reason: they work. I’m not one to judge them for that and quite honestly I would watch it for the simple reason that it has Robbie Amell in it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not the book.

Warning: from here on there will be Spoilers for the book (and possibly the movie)!

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger is about Bianca Piper, a cynic girl who deals with her problems by entering into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with the person she hates the most: Wesley Rush. She starts avoiding her friends and bottles up her emotions which inevitably leads to a lot of chaos. Despite what the trailer suggests, the story is a lot deeper and deals with multiple issues that not only teens are confronted with. Here are some of the major differences I’ve spotted:

  • Bianca doesn’t come to Wesley for help. She despises him and solely uses him as a means of escape, well until it turns into something else. It’s different than in the movie though. She doesn’t want to change her appearance, or herself in general, to make anyone like her and he doesn’t fall for her just because she’s slowly changing for the better, but because they have a genuine connection. Bianca knows that for the people who really care about her, she doesn’t have to pretend.
  • I have no idea who Bella Thorne is supposed to be. There is no mean girl in the story. Of course there are the obligatory bitchy cheerleaders, but not a particular mean girl who rules the school. Was that really necessary to add?
  • There is some hope in me that they will deal with the family issues of the characters in the movie, even though it doesn’t look like it from what I could tell from the trailer. But I thought it was important to have Bianca’s father’s alcoholism and her mother being away all the time as well as Wesley’s judgmental grandmother, his sweet little sister and so on in the book. The cast list doesn’t really reassure me though … we’ll see.
  • The movie makes it look like the goal of it all is to make Bianca datable for prom – she doesn’t even go to prom! Neither does she go to the Homecoming or any other school dance, because they just aren’t her thing. There better not be some big showdown at prom …
  • The Nest just doesn’t exist. Seems sad to me, since I really wanted to see Joe.
  • I suppose there will be a lot less sex in the movie. Just an educated guess.
  • I suppose the only thing that will be the same in the movie and the book is moral of the story, which means that Bianca soon discovers that everyone who has friends feels like the Duff at some point.

I hope it came across that I really don’t think the stories have anything in common. I mean not even the set up is the same. Have you read the book? Let’s talk about it!

10 thoughts on “The DUFF: Book vs. Trailer

  1. I totally agree with you. After reading it at my local library, I bought it right away and recommended it to a few of my friends. Now it’s been a few years and I never imagined that a movie would be made… and I never imagined that the trailer would be almost nothing like the book save for the names of the characters and the title.

    Tbh, the movie sounds like it’s gonna be a bad rip off of Mean Girls. I think I’m just gonna have to watch the movie and try to like it for what it is, not what it was supposed to be.


    • Thank you for commenting!
      It’s always a wise way of action to just see the movie as it’s own entity. I haven’t seen it yet myself, but I think people actually quite like it. So, it might not be the book, but it may just be a decent teenage RomCom nonetheless.


  2. I’m 26, but read primarily YA still because it’s just wonderful. But I really like to read novels before seeing their adaptations. I picked up The DUFF from my library today (it’s been on hold because of the movie), and I’ve zoomed through 100 pages. I really like it so far, but I like it because it’s not PG-13. Because teenagers aren’t generally PG-13 to be real!
    I’m going to keep reading, and I will probably go see the movie this weekend because it looks fun. I like the cast, and I’m getting the sense that it kept the “We’re all someone’s DUFF” message. But I am sad that it was changed SO much. Some changes like the mom being in the picture instead of the dad are okay with me because I love Allison Janney always. After doing perusing for answers as to the changes, it appears that once the rights were sold away, the author had no control over what happened to the adaptation. Which is sad but happens too often.
    Thank you so much for doing a post on this because I wanted someone to talk to about it! I think the movie will still be enjoyable!


    • First off, thank you for reading the post and commenting 🙂
      I’m not sure you got to that part yet, but there is this really important (and to me shocking) scene between Bianca and her dad, which is why I was disappointed he wasn’t in the movie at all. I do love Janney as well though! But other than that, I agree. The movie will probably be a lot of fun, even if it has barely anything to do with the book. As long as one remembers that, I don’t think there’s a problem with enjoying both in a different way.


  3. I have to say I was super excited when one saw the trailer for the first time and the second..and the third :-)..(I’d read the book earlier and was a major family I absolutely adored it) Anyway after the third-ish time viewing the trailer I began to notice things #1.A mean girl made herself appear ugh where did she come from and how do I ship her back? #2.A prom dress and no sex no nest and friendship between Bianca and Wesley.. Why? That’s not how that goes #3 the teacher while he was funny :-D:-D he was NO WHERE In this book there are a lot of other minor things that make me feel majorly dissapointed this book was flawless and a hell of a lot more realistic than what the movie isn’t perfect there are screw ups there’s hate and rage anger and helplessness I hate how they turned something so realistic into a B-grade ‘chick flick’ it’s really disappointing

    I might go see it just because of how much I loved the book but.. It’s not likely


    • Thank you for commenting! And I completely understand your frustration with the movie. I was pretty shocked myself when I realised that they barely kept anything, except for the character’s names when they adapted it.
      Just try to see the movie as its own thing and then you might enjoy it a little more.


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