Monday, May 9, 2011

Flipped (Book)

Author: Wendelin Van Draanen. Release date: 2001. Publisher: Random House. ISBN: 9780439649986.

File:Flipped.jpgPlot summary: Juli Baker has loved Bryce Loski since they first met in second grade. Unfortunately for Juli, Bryce doesn’t feel the same. He finds the quirky girl and her constant badgering to be embarrassing. Over the years, he tries to distance himself from Juli, but she simply won’t give up. One of Juli’s favorite activities is to sit high in the branches of a big sycamore tree. Juli loves trees and often invites Bryce to join her, which he, of course, refuses to do. Things begin to change when the two are in eighth grade. Bryce begins to see what he’s been missing all these years: Juli is a fun, charismatic and passionate person who is also very kind. The trouble is, Juli has grown bored of Bryce’s constantly ignoring her and his seemingly shallow personality. It seems that things have flipped for Juli and Bryce, and now Juli is the one doing the ignoring.

Review: This delightful novel of childhood love takes a new look at middle school romance that readers are sure to enjoy. The story is told in alternating voices between Juli and Bryce. Each have a unique perspective on the plot, and knowing what is going on in each of their heads makes things all the more interesting. Juli’s persistent love for Bryce and his “baby blue eyes” is something that many tweens will identify with. On the other hand, many will also identify with Bryce and his constant efforts to avoid Juli’s outlandish and often embarrassing attention (i.e. telling him his hair smells like watermelon, etc.) Flipped is full of situations that will resonate with readers, and that is part of what makes it such an engaging story. The twist in the story, when Bryce falls for Juli but she no longer feels the same, is equally delightful. The 2010 film version of the story makes an excellent companion to the novel as well.

Genre: Fiction

Reading level: Grades 6-9
Similar titles: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

Personal thoughts: This is such a fun novel, I wanted to read it again and again. I found myself really identifying with Juli and her persistent efforts to capture the attention of that one boy. I think most former-tweens had experiences such as this and will likely enjoy the novel as much as current-tweens. This is definitely a novel for tween girls, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in something entertaining but sweet.

Themes: Romance, friendship, compassion.

Awards/Reviews: Virginia Young Readers Program Award Winner, South Carolina Children’s Book Award Winner, California Young Reader Medal Winner, Nevada Young Readers Award Winner, Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award nominee, positive reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Booklist.

Series Information: N/A

Character information:

Juli Baker – Quirky but kind girl who falls hopelessly in love with Bryce Loski in second grade. Over the next six years, she tries her hardest to get Bryce to love her back. She loves trees and raising chickens in her family’s yard.

Bryce Loski – Shy but kind boy who is the recipient of a lot of undesired attention from Juli Baker. When the two reach the eighth grade, Bryce begins to reciprocate Juli’s feelings, but it might be too late.

Chet Duncan – Bryce’s kind grandfather who immediately takes a liking to Juli. He helps Juli clean up her family’s disheveled yard.

Annotation: In second grade, Juli Baker flipped for Bryce Loski and his beautiful baby blue eyes. Unfortunately, Bryce couldn’t be less interested and spends the next six years avoiding Juli and her unwanted advances. In eighth grade, however, things change, and Bryce finds himself flipping for Julie...but is it too late?

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