Juli Baker devoutly believes in three things: the sanctity of trees (especially her beloved sycamore), the wholesomeness of the eggs she collects from her backyard flock of chickens, and that someday she will kiss Bryce Loski. Ever since she saw Bryce's baby blues back in second grade, Juli has been smitten. Unfortunately, Bryce has never felt the same. Frankly, he thinks Juli Baker is a little weird--after all, what kind of freak raises chickens and sits in trees for fun? Then, in eighth grade, everything changes. Bryce begins to see that Juli's unusual interests and pride in her family are, well, kind of cool. And Juli starts to think that maybe Bryce's brilliant blue eyes are as empty as the rest of Bryce seems to be. After all, what kind of jerk doesn't care about other people's feelings about chickens and trees? With Flipped,
mystery author Wendelin Van Draanen has taken a break from her Sammy Keyes series, and the result is flipping fantastic. Bryce and Juli's rants and raves about each other ring so true that teen readers will quickly identify with at least one of these hilarious feuding egos, if not both. A perfect introduction to the adolescent war between the sexes. (Ages 12 to 14) --Jennifer Hubert
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From Publishers Weekly
Two distinct, thoroughly likable voices emerge in Van Draanen's (the Sammy Keyes series) enticing story, relayed alternately by eighth graders Bryce and Juli. When Juli moved in across the street from Bryce, just before second grade, he found the feisty, friendly girl overwhelming and off-putting, and tried to distance himself from her but then eighth grade rolls around. Within the framework of their complex, intermittently antagonistic and affectionate rapport, the author shapes insightful portraits of their dissimilar families. Among the most affecting supporting characters are Bryce's grandfather, who helps Juli spruce up her family's eyesore of a yard after Bryce makes an unkind remark about the property, and Juli's father, a deep-feeling artist who tries to explain to his daughter how a painting becomes more than the sum of its parts. Juli finally understands this notion after she discovers the exhilaration of sitting high in a beloved tree in her neighborhood ("The view from my sycamore was more than rooftops and clouds and wind and colors combined"). Although the relationship between Bryce's grandfather and his own family remains a bit sketchy, his growing bond with Juli is credibly and poignantly developed. A couple of coincidences are a bit convenient, but Van Draanen succeeds in presenting two entirely authentic perspectives on the same incidents without becoming repetitious. With a charismatic leading lady kids will flip over, a compelling dynamic between the two narrators and a resonant ending (including a clever double entendre on the title), this novel is a great deal larger than the sum of its parts. Ages 10-14.
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