What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that nearly every character, major and minor, adult and child, behaves badly. In some cases they learn better or regret their mistakes; in others (such as the main characters cheating in school) they don't. Because of the romantic subject matter, it will probably appeal mainly to middle schoolers.
What's the story?
In alternating chapters, Bryce and Juli tell the story of their relationship, beginning in second grade when Bryce moves in across the street from Juli. Juli instantly develops a crush on Bryce, who does not reciprocate, and throughout elementary school he tries to avoid her persistent and unwelcome attentions.
In middle school, however, they both begin to notice Bryce's substantial character flaws. Just as Bryce begins to try to change, and to notice Juli's good points, her ardor starts to cool. Meanwhile their families, and their perceptions of their world, also undergo dramatic changes.
Is it any good?
This deceptively simple novel about first crushes is a lot like real life -- sometimes too much so. There is hardly a character, major or minor, adult or child, who is really likable, though a few, such as Bryce and his grandfather, drift toward likability by the end. They all mess up, usually repeatedly, and mostly through selfishness and lack of understanding and compassion, just like real people. And most of them change -- and change again.
The alternating narrators device in FLIPPED adds another realistic layer to this multilayered book. Bryce and Juli describe the same events from their points of view, and they do so with surprising honesty. The differences in their versions come not from trying to hide the truth or justify their own behavior, but from genuinely seeing things differently. They both behave badly, Bryce especially, but they're both able to face that and to attempt the always difficult process of conscious change.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the characters' behavior.
Why do they do the things they do?
Is Bryce really a coward? Is his grandfather fair to him?
Also, point of view is very important here. Why do the stories the two characters tell seem so different? Are they lying?
Do people really see the same events so differently? Why?