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Flipped Paperback – May 13, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Top Customer Reviews
From the moment the Loski family moves into town, Juli Baker finds herself drawn to their young son, Bryce. Even before his family finishes unloading the moving van, Bryce finds himself running away from her, and so their relationship remains for the next six years. All Bryce sees is the weird girl from across the street that lives in a messy house and climbs way too high up the ancient sycamore tree at the school bus stop. For her part, Juli can't get past Bryce's dreamy blue eyes and the scent of watermelon wafting from his hair.
And then comes the day that everything begins to change.
Told by both Bryce and Juli in alternating first-person chapters, this book is more than a simple romance. It isn't about two people overcoming obstacles in the path to true love. Instead, it details the creation of those obstacles, deftly illustrating how the reality of human perceptions and emotions differs from the ideal notion of love at first sight. In Bryce and Juli, Ms. Van Draanen has created a pair of living, breathing, three-dimensional characters, and the more we learn about the two of them, the less inevitable a happy ending seems to be.
By contrasting the points of view, this "he-said/she-said" story shows the difference between our thoughts and our actions. What we think about what we say and do doesn't matter; it's what people see us saying and doing that counts. However, while Bryce learns that the best of intentions can't necessarily excuse unkind actions, both he and Juli come to realize that they both have to look beneath the surface to see the truth about each other. Perhaps the poor condition of the Baker house-and what it says about their family-doesn't tell the simple story Bryce assumes it does, and perhaps Bryce's beautiful blue eyes aren't a strong enough reason for Juli to pursue him.
This story's initial light, breezy, funny style drew me in immediately. The more I read, the more caught up I became in the emotion of the characters, and the more I began to care about both of them. Fortunately, Ms. Van Draanen remained true to the complexity of her creations, providing an ending that perfectly satisfied, without being simple or pat. With all due respect to her Sammy Keyes books, I certainly hope this isn't the last time we see this sort of work from her.
It took me a chapter or two to get into it, but by the time I finished it (less than two days, if I remember correctly -- I couldn't put it down) I'd fallen in love with Bryce and Juli, Bryce's grandfather Chet, Juli's father, even Juli's brothers. The book has a little romance in it, but not as much as the book's cover made it out to be. It is not a romance by any means; instead, it is a book about growing up -- but the concept is presented in a modern, real, noncondescending way.
The book is downright funny many times, but poignant and serious at others. The chapter when Juli visits her uncle made an impression on me in particular, as well as the chapter when Bryce finally begins to "see" people -- his father, his grandfather, and at last, Juli.
Though the Sammy Keyes books are well-written, Ms. Van Draanen has absolutely proved (to me, at least) that she is much more than a writer who merely entertains. It takes a very talented writer to cause the reader to become involved in the story, to care about the characters. It takes a gifted writer to involve the reader in the story and characters, to show the change the characters go through in the story, and to really make the reader -think-. Ms. Van Draanen is a gifted writer. Bryce's change is not only touching, but believable; Juli is not the know-it-all she seems to be, but a deep and beautiful young woman. And the story makes the reader question his or her own way of living -- a "fakeness" that I have been seeing in people so much more acutely as I grow up.
I cannot recommend this book enough. Wonderful job, Ms. Van Draanen, on a truly wonderful book.
When I bought "Flipped" I didn't know what to expect because all of Wendelin Van Draanen's other novels have been mysteries, and I didn't know how her first attempt at another genre would turn out. However, I found "Flipped" to be funny, original and entertaining. I hope Ms. Van Draanen will write a sequal.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Flipped is such an astonishing read! Yes, cuteness is overloaded in here! This is a book which is written in two voices/ two different point of views by a...Read more