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FLIPPED by Wendelin Van Draanen

FLIPPED

by Wendelin Van Draanen

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-81174-5
Publisher: Knopf

Proof that the course of pubescent love never runs smooth. When Bryce and Julianna (Juli) meet, they are both seven and Bryce has just moved in across the street. For Juli, it is love at first sight: “The day I first met Bryce Loski, I flipped. Honestly, one look at him and I became a lunatic. It’s his eyes.” As far as Bryce is concerned, the feeling is definitely not mutual: “All I’ve ever wanted is for Juli Baker to leave me alone. For her to back off—you know, just give me some space.” Six years after their meeting, Bryce is something of a judgmental priss (just like his father), and Juli is full of passion and enthusiasm for life. But in their eighth-grade year, Juli’s fight to save an old tree from being cut down causes Bryce to look at Juli with growing admiration—just at the same time that Juli finally realizes that Bryce’s character does not measure up to his eyes. The story is told in both voices, in alternating chapters that develop from a sort of “he said, she said” dialogue into an exploration of perception, misapprehension, and context. Van Draanen (Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy Mystery, 2000, etc.) deftly manages the difficult task of establishing and maintaining the reader’s sympathy with both characters. The text stretches credibility in a couple of ways, especially with the premise that a seven-year-old is capable of a long-lasting romantic infatuation. It is, nevertheless, a highly agreeable romantic comedy tempered with the pointed lesson (demonstrated by the straining of Bryce’s parents’ marriage) that the “choices you make now will affect you for the rest of your life.” (Fiction. 10-14)