A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
JUNE 1:

  • Happy birthday Leah Komaiko (Annie Bananie).
  • It’s the birth date of John Masefield (1878-1967), The Midnight Folk, The Box of Delights, James Daugherty (1889-1974), Andy and the Lion, and Doris Buchanan Smith (1934-2002), A Taste of Blackberries.
  • Happy birthday Kentucky (1792) and Tennessee (1796).
  • More to read on Flip a Coin Day: Flip by David Lubar, Flip-Flop Girl by Katherine Paterson, and The Gold Coin by Alma Flor Ada, illustrated by Neil Waldman.

Today has been designated Flip a Coin Day. The word flip immediately reminds me of one of the funniest, and yet most true to life, romances written for the ten- to fourteen-year-old set, Wendelin Van Draanen’s Flipped.

Told from the point of view of two protagonists, Julie and Bryce, they alternate narrating chapters. In second grade, when Bryce moved in across the street, Julie fell in love at first sight: “The first day I met Bryce Loski, I flipped. Honestly, one look at him and I became a lunatic.” Handsome, with brilliant blue eyes, Bryce becomes Julie’s love obsession for six long years.

Passionate and intense, Julie lets Bryce know, along with everyone else, how she feels about him. When another girl in fifth grade gets near him, a cat fight ensues. Julie follows him around, smells his hair in class, and generally makes herself a nuisance.

Bryce, on the other hand, tries to blend in, get along, and not create waves. He remains aloof but polite to Julie. Their relationship is exacerbated by the socioeconomic standings of both families. Julie lives in a rented house, the eyesore of the neighborhood. Her father scrapes to get by, because he provides economic support for his brother. Bryce’s father, on the other hand, believes in possessions, keeping up appearances, and displaying his wealth.

Readers follow along—through a “he said, she said” storytelling approach—until Bryce and Julie reach eighth grade. Then, as is true in the lives of adolescents everywhere, things begin to tilt. Julie loses a battle to save a neighborhood sycamore tree, destined to be chopped down, and Bryce does not come to her defense. She begins to suspect that he may be much more superficial than she has realized.

But Bryce changes too and slowly comes to realize that the annoying neighbor could actually be someone special. As her ardor cools, his expands. Finally, he flips, too—and chases her around, hoping for a kiss. The book leaves the romance unresolved; they agree to sit down and actually talk to each other, something that has not happened in all six years. In the meantime readers have been taken along on a roller-coaster ride of misunderstanding and laughter. One of the funniest chapters in the book revolves around a dinner where the two families sit down to get to know each other.

Made into a motion picture and beloved by readers for a decade, Flipped is perfect for summer reading, particularly for those wondering about a certain boy or girl in their lives. Young love in all is phases—from insecurity to insanity—has been brilliantly explored in this breezy, easy-to-read novel.

Here’s a passage from Flipped:

I just wanted to be with her. To hold her hand again.

To kiss her.

Before school was out, I tried to talk to her again, but every time I got close, she’d dodge me. And then when the final bell range, she disappeared. I looked everywhere for her, but she was just gone.

Garrett, however, wasn’t. He tracked me down and said, “Dude! Tell me it isn’t true!”

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Originally posted June 1, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Family, Humor, Romance
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Flipped
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COMMENTS

  1. Muriel Feldshuh says:

    Hi Anita,

    I always enjoy logging onto this website each morning. I just wanted to add another flip book to share with you and your readers that I wrote published by Scholastic in 1996. It’s called Flip-Up Bulletin Boards by Muriel Feldshuh and continues to be helpful to teachers.

    Enjoy the day!
    Muriel

  2. G.Perry says:

    Ah yes. This brings back an event from childhood. A story I certainly could have used at time, had I only known about it.

    I think it was about the fifth grade. I was one of those “HKs” (Home kids) and I was a prisoner (so to speak) at one horrid church orphanage. The kind of place that can and does destroy any possibility of belief in anything except escape. I’ve always thought of the place as one of those little hidden torture centers, a little POW camp for children. The kind people don’t like to believe exists in this country. (There were no children’s books there, or any books that I can recall.)

    The “HKs” walked about two miles to a public school each way, daily. Two miles of nature filled fresh air breathing freedom.

    So, I had one friend, “William” I sort of hung out with at school. He was a townie. William’s parents owned a thriving business. I don’t think it occurred to either of us that we came from extraordinarily different situations. I just don’t believe either of us cared about that. We just seemed to hit it off.

    There was this amazingly kind and beautiful girl at school. To my little boy eyes and heart, was just gorgeous in every way. I used to sneak a glimpse of her out of the corner of an eye. I was far too shy to talk to her, or even really looked at her. I believe she may have been the most popular girl at that school. (A grade school on the campus of a college of all things.) I would daydream about just being able to talk to that girl. Such Innocent early days…

    Years later, I heard from a teacher that lived in the little town where this story took place. In a long wonderful talk we had, she told me something I found hard to believe.

    She said that the girl I talked about in this story, told her friends at school that she could never make up her mind which boy she liked best. Me or William.

    See me tap dancing..

  3. suzi w. says:

    oh wow, I had never made the connection between Flipped and the Sammy Keyes books…probably b/c I haven’t read either and one is shelved in Juniors and one in Teens. I have been meaning to read Flipped forever…and I think there was a movie made, actually.

    I fear that when I comment here I sound like a children’s librarian that hasn’t read any books, but I know that in reality it’s because you are just stretching us all, nudging us, saying, hey, read this one!

  4. Jessica says:

    Thanks for posting this, Anita! I enjoy Sammy Keyes but I never realized this book was by the same author. I’ve been meaning to read it ever since I saw trailers for the film version. It sounds fantastic!

  5. Jude says:

    This is a really good book; the movie’s fantastic, too. I reviewed the movie (http://fruitcakefiles.blogspot.com/2011/03/you-really-got-hold-on-me.html) back in March.

  6. Rebecca says:

    just reading this makes me think of 7th grade angst. I think I’ll have to go and get this one! Thanks for sharing!

  7. McCourt says:

    I love this book! It is a fifth-going-into-sixth grade summer reading book at my children’s school and I always enjoy re-reading it with each kid (2 down, 2 to go!). The parts about Julie’s tree and Bryce’s grandfather always touch my heart.

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