Note: This book frequently uses the r-slur. It made me quite uncomfortable and I think the author could’ve used different language. This is the only fault I really have with the book.
Years, ago, I remember flipping to a channel with one of those daytime movies. The colours, lighting, and the voice of a young boy being auctioned off as a school fundraiser reminded me of a really cringey version of one of my favourite films, Now and Then. I kept flipping through the channels, and watched something else.
Years later, I watched this movie, at the recommendation of a girl I greatly admire. To put it simply, I flipped, and completely adored it.
Finally, just recently, I read Flipped by Wendelin van Draanen, a book from two perspectives – Bryce Loski and Juli Baker. It’s the story on which the movie was based. There’s not a huge plot, but it focuses on lots of little events that occur from when they first meet, at around the age of seven, until they’re in year eight. Each event is told twice, first from Bryce’s perspective, then from Juli’s. To sum it all up, Juli fell for Bryce as soon as she met him, and, in the years that passed, felt he was holding on to her “first kiss”.
The events in the story aren’t what sold me; sure, some are incredibly emotive, such as when Juli and her father meet up with his brother for his birthday, or the events within the Loski family that follow the dinner party.
Instead, it’s the characters, or, more specifically, character, and how the other characters interact with her. Juli Baker is everything I wish to be. She makes deep, meaning connections with the world and people around her, is enthusiastic about exploring and trying new things, and is just so passionate. There’s a quote from the book that I feel describes her so well.
“A painting is more than the sum of its parts,’ he would tell me, and then go on to explain how the cow by itself is just a cow, and the meadow by itself is just grass and flowers, and the sun peeking through the trees is just a beam of light, but put them all together and you’ve got magic.”
The story later goes on to say that it applies to people as well. Some people are more than the sum of their parts; those people are magic.
As expected, I liked the book more than the movie. Putting it simply, Bryce was a jerk for most of the story, so I appreciated how they became amicable at the end. You could sense that the characters would continue to grow and develop into friends. However, on Goodreads, I found many saying they didn’t like the ambiguity of the book’s ending, and preferred the movie (-sarcasm- spoiler alert: the protagonists kiss at the end). As I said before, Bryce Loski was a jerk for most of the time. By the end of the story, he was becoming a better person, but he still needed to grow, and I liked how the book allowed for that.
Flipped is mostly light-hearted, very endearing, and has changed me as a person. I hope that anyone who’s read it enjoys it as much as I do.