In general, the movie never seems to be as good as the book. Especially when we as the readers are attached to a particular book, and when they turn it into a movie, disappointments such as “But they left out that part!” or “They got the characters all wrong!” are bound to happen.
Luckily, this was not the case with the film production of the book Flipped by Wendelin van Draanen. When I found out that one of my favorite books as a teen had been made into a big screen movie, my curiosity was sparked, and I hurried down to the Art Cinema, which often shows independent films not always offered in the big box.
Although it had been a few years since I’d read the book, my memory of the story came back easily, as the movie did such a good job following it! Flipped tells the story of two childhood friends, Bryce and Juli, who like and dislike each other at opposite times. Since age seven, when Bryce Loski moves to town, Julianna Baker is head over heels for him and his dreamy blue eyes. But Bryce isn’t into thinking of Juli as anything more than weird. As they enter eighth grade, a series of twists and turns alter the way they see each other. In the book, the chapters alternate between perspectives, so the reader is able to see both sides of “he said/she said.” In turns funny and moving, Flipped captures a real sense of coming-of-age understanding.
The main difference between the book and movie that I noticed was that the book’s setting is modern, but in the movie, the story takes place in the 1960’s. Also, the actor who plays Bryce doesn’t actually have blue eyes. Still, the plot elements, characterization, and themes are driven home nonetheless. Strong-willed Juli and self-conscious Bryce are believable, and so are the situations they find themselves in. Beyond budding junior high romance, the story stretches to lessons about family and about growing up.
I would definitely recommend both the book and movie versions of Flipped. (In fact, I noticed the DVD has just recently made it into the library system!) See (and read) for yourself the differences and similarities in these two takes on a charmingly crafted story. In a School Library Journal interview with Wendelin van Draanen, the author even says herself, “It really is more like the book than any movie I’ve ever seen!”