Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: October 2001
Summary from Goodreads: The first time she saw him, she flipped. The first time he saw her, he ran. That was the second grade, but not much has changed by the seventh. She says: “My Bryce. Still walking around with my first kiss.” He says: “It’s been six years of strategic avoidance and social discomfort.” But in the eighth grade everything gets turned upside down. And just as he’s thinking there’s more to her than meets the eye, she’s thinking that he’s not quite all he seemed. This is a classic romantic comedy of errors told in alternating chapters by two fresh, funny new voices. Wendelin Van Draanen is at her best here with a knockout cast of quirky characters and a hilarious series of misunderstandings and missed opportunities. But underlying the humor are two teens in transition. They are each learning to look beyond the surface of people, both figuring out who they are, who they want to be, and who they want to be with.
Plot: Julianna Baker falls in love with Bryce Loski at the age of 7 and for five years, she stalks him and and he avoids her, but in 8th grade, the tables are about to be flipped. Bryce is sick and tired of Julianna following him and all his plans to shake her have failed him. Julianna has, for this whole year, tried to hide her feelings for Bryce and his big, blue eyes, but it's no use. She stills gets flutters when she sees him until she learns to look past his eyes. Julianna is hit unexpectedly when Bryce doesn't climb up a tree with her to help save it and when he laughs at her because of her mentally challenged uncle. From that point on, Julianna has lost her taste for Bryce and vows to never speak to him again. While Julianna is giving him the cold shoulder and ignoring him, Bryce finds himself missing Julianna and is appalled by just the thought. It all comes to a head when Julianna bids on a basket boy who is not him at their school's annual fundraiser. Driven by jealousy, Bryce is possessed to kiss Julianna and just succeeds in confusing them more. In the end, their problems aren't completely resolved, but they are on their way to understanding what love really is.
Characters: Bryce's voice is the first one we hear in this alternating story. I liked him, but I didn't like him. I couldn't blame him for this because he is only acting like an 8th grade boy. This book has been out for about 9 years and it is only coincidence that I read this book when I am in the 8th grade. I am with 8th grade boys Mon-Fri and I can personally say that I like Bryce because of his accuracy, in a way. Wendelin got every detail right of their actions and inability to understand the more mature sex. Bryce is scared of Julianna because frankly, she comes on a little too strong to him. When she starts to ignore and forget about him, Bryce begins to like Julianna, which is another frighteningly correct similarity to reality. Wendelin has gone into the deepest darkest depths of a boy's booger infested mind and brought out a masterpiece that can benefit all who read it.
Julianna is an inspiring and fierce character. It was near impossible not to like her. She is clearly a girl who knows what she wants because she goes after Bryce in 2nd grade. Admittedly, she comes on a little strong in the beginning, but as she ages, she gets wiser. She takes a stand and isn't afraid to speak her mind. Julianna has a mature, but scattered voice that I love. It takes Julianna a few tries to learn to look below the surface like she is advised, but when she takes a peek all is unveiled. She discovers that Bryce is a bit of a coward and not what she thought he was, in that, he doesn't defend her against his friends' hurtful comments and doesn't really care for her at all. She gets furious with him at this discovery and voices it to him with no hesitation. After Bryce kisses her, she doesn't know what Bryce wants or what she wants herself. When Bryce comes over to redeem himself, something about the last scene tells me that this time she will think with her brain and not be fooled by Bryce's good looks. She will base her love not on how he looks, but by who he is.