Recommended for grades 6-9
I was so excited to find out that Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen had been made into a movie, which is odd because I’ve never read the book. But, like all good books, its reputation preceded itself—I knew I would get around to reading the story. I really wanted to see the movie, especially after watching the preview (not gonna lie, probably watched it upwards of five times that first time). I counted down the days till it would hit theaters. Then, I started searching all the internet movie sites determined to find what local theater it would be in…it was showing in ZELCH! Come on now!! Not even the independent theaters were showing it and trust me, I checked for several weeks, hoping that eventually it would make it to a theater near me. It never did.
Well, with that disappointment, I decided I would just be one of the first people to check it out from the library. I watched it this past week and loved every minute of that movie! The two young actors portraying Juli and Bryce were wonderful and so was the supporting cast. The movie guaranteed that I would be reading the book within a week’s time (library, here I come!). So, not only do I have to buy the movie because I liked it so much, I now have to buy the book because I liked it so much and want to be able to read it yearly. I just have to point out that I ONLY buy movies that are my favorites and will stand the test of time of me watching them over and over again.
Flipped is a coming of age story that ventures a little into first love (or crazy first crushes…we’ve all been there), but Van Draanen keeps the balance well, by alternating chapters between Bryce and Juli. The book begins the summer before Bryce and Juli go into second grade. Juli sees Bryce (who just moved into the neighborhood) and right away she’s “flipped” for “those blue eyes.” On the other hand, Bryce wants nothing to do with Juli. This continues for several years, but along the way you find out what a strong-spirited individual Juli is and what a confused individual Bryce turns out to be. They live right across the street from each other, but their families couldn’t be any more different—Bryce’s family is well-off, but not stable, whereas Juli’s family might not be rich, but they are close knit.
Then it happens, in eighth grade, Juli finally discovers what a “coward” Bryce can be and really wants nothing to do with him (for the most part), but at the same time Bryce finally opens his eyes and sees Juli, I mean really sees Juli and what do you know, he’s “flipped” for her…funny how the story’s title works on several levels. The reader knows that Bryce isn’t all that bad and the story ends on a sweet note with Bryce’s noble act and Juli thinking that maybe she and Bryce can be friends after all.
One of my favorite lines in the book comes from Chet, Bryce’s wise grandfather, who says, “Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss…But every once in a while you find someone who’s iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare.” I feel the same way about books.
Van Draanen, W. (2001). Flipped. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.