Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Flipped Audio

Flipped Audio

Wendelin Van Draanen
For ages 12 to 14
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Andy Paris and Carine Montbertrand
Recorded Books, 2004   ISBN: 1419339877

When Bryce Loski was seven years old, a girl called Juli Baker marched into his life. She turned up soon after Bryce moved into the house next door, and Bryce has been avoiding and running away from her ever since. For six years Juli chases after Bryce, convinced that he is the one who has her “first kiss.” For six years, Bryce has to practice “strategic avoidance” and suffer “social discomfort.”

As far as Bryce is concerned, Juli is a very strange girl. She is frighteningly clever, she lives in a ramshackle house that is surrounded by a messy yard, she likes to sit in a large sycamore tree, and she has chickens. Not only does she have chickens, but she keeps bringing him free eggs that her chickens have laid. Afraid that the eggs might be contaminated by salmonella, Bryce throws the eggs away. For two years, Bryce secretly gets rid of the eggs Juli brings over. Then she discovers what he has been doing, and she is devastated. Suddenly Bryce feels like a “complete cluck-faced jerk.”

Bryce should be relived after the egg incident. After all, Juli is now furious with him and she is ignoring him. Isn’t this what he has been longing for? The problem is that Bryce is now discovering that Juli is not the person he thought she was. She is brave, and tough. She comes from a family that has had to deal with a lot of hardship. Bryce even starts to realize that she is really very pretty. In short, Bryce has flipped for Juli. Unfortunately, Juli has done quite the opposite. She has decided that the boy with the gorgeous blue eyes is not the boy she thought he was. In fact, he is the kind of person who does not look very good at all when you dig beneath the surface.

In this unique and utterly captivating coming of age novel, Wendelin Van Draanen tells her story from two points of view. In alternating chapters, she shifts between Bryce and Juli, showing to great effect how differently two people can look at the same situation. Listeners will share the young people’s embarrassment, their confusion, their anger, and their stumbling efforts to sort out their feelings for one another. Falling in and out of love certainly is a very bewildering business.

Narrating alternate chapters, Andy Paris and Carine Montbertrand bring Juli and Bryce’s characters to life, capturing the distinct voices of the boy and the girl perfectly.