A look at FLIPPED by Wendelin Van Draanen


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. 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. 
__________

 When I read the beginning of the WSJ article about YA--about the mother who couldn't find a book for her thirteen-year-old--this was the book I thought of. It's funny, clean, and written with a light touch.  It's also written in alternating points-of-view so you get to see Juli and Bryce change in different ways as she realizes he's kind of a jerk, and he realizes he wants to be better.
 All I've ever wanted is for Juli Baker to leave me alone For her to back off-you know, just give me some space.
It all started the summer before second grade when our moving van pulled into her neighborhood. And since we're now about done with the eighth grade, that, my friend, makes more than half a decade of strategic avoidance and social discomfort.
She didn't just barge into my life. She barged and shoved and wedged her way into my life. Did we invite her to get into our moving van and start climbing all over boxes? No! But that's exactly what she did, taking over and showing off like only Juli Baker can.
My dad tried to stop her. "Hey!" he says as she's catapulting herself on board. "What are you doing? You're getting mud everywhere!" So true, too. Her shoes were, like, caked with the stuff.
She didn't hop out, though. Instead, she planted her rear end on the floor and started pushing a big box with her feet. "Don't you want some help?" She glanced my way. "It sure looks like you need it."
~excerpt from Flipped

My favorite thing about this book is that there are some very deep and emotional things hidden in the comedy, like the social distance that exists between Juli and Bryce, even though they live in the same neighborhood. Or the way that both dads shape their kids. Juli's father teaches her to see the beauty in everything while Bryce's dad teaches him to judge and draw lines. If I wanted a good read for a thirteen-year-old, this would be one of the first books I would reach for.

Can you think of any other books that are light and funny, yet powerful?

(Want to win this book? Go here to enter my Thank-You Contest of Amazingness!)

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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.