Friday, October 7, 2011

Flip by Martyn Bedford

Posted by Simcha 4:08 AM, under | 7 comments

One December night, 14-year-old Alex goes to  bed. He wakes up to  find himself in the wrong bedroom, in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country, and it's the middle of June. Six months have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table are total strangers.
And when he looks in the mirror, another boy's face stares back at him.  A boy named Flip. Unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life,  he may be trapped forever inside a body that belongs to someone else. 
Questions of identity, the will to survive, and what you're willing to sacrifice to be alive make this extraordinary book impossible to put down.

Before you read this book let me just warn you that this not a book to start on before you go to sleep.

1.You will end up reading late into the night and then wake up grumpy and tired (and possibly late) in the morning, snapping at everyone around you.

2.When you do go to sleep you will have crazy dreams about having your body being switched with someone else.

I know, because this is what happened to me.

But you can avoid this by starting the book early in the day, which will give you plenty of time to finish it and get all the crazy thoughts and speculations out of your system (like, if you did switch bodies, who would you want to switch with? And if you've never wondered this before, now you will).

Given my warnings you can probably tell that this is a book that I very much enjoyed reading, and had a hard time putting down. It's one of those books that I just had to know how it ended after reading only the first paragraph, and I just couldn't bare to stop reading until I found out . And since I'm not one to spoil a book for myself by skipping to the end, I just had to sit down and read through it all (which lead to the aforementioned late bedtime and crazy dreams).

Alex is a compelling character who readers will easily sympathize with. Finding himself among strangers who think he is someone else, Alex is naturally scared and confused and wants only to return home. But his efforts to make that happen only make the situation worse and lead Alex to fear that there may be no going back. At the same time, Alex can't help but enjoy the experience of being someone so different from his usual self; someone confident, popular and good looking. As Philip, he has gorgeous girls throwing themselves at him and guys vying to be his friend.

Despite the grave situation that Alex finds himself in there are some humerous moments, such as his reluctance to “handle” the unfamiliar body he is in, which makes showering and going to the bathroom somewhat difficult. And when Alex tries to take advantage of having beautiful girls wanting him, his inexperience at kissing makes for an awkward situation.

I also enjoyed getting to know the secondary characters, such as Philip's sister who Alex finds himself liking, despite her obvious disdain for her brother, and Alex's new friend Rob, who is in a similar situation as Alex and does his best to help him acclimate.There is also a girl at school who Alex really wants to get to know, but since the real Flip would never have given her the time of day, she only responds with suspicion.

The only small disappointment for me was that we don't get to find out anything about what Philip went through, which is something I had been hoping for. While I was satisfied with the way the story played out I would have liked it to have gone on just a bit further in some ways.

Overall Flip was a very enjoyable young adult novel that makes for a quick but satisfying read.


This premise raises something I've always disliked in "body-swap" stories - why does the character always find him/herself in a better social situation? Why do we never see the popular kid finding him/herself in a low-key crowd, with few friends and little social worth? Why is it always a boost to their social status? Just one of those things that's always bugged me...

Biblibio: This is actually the first body-swap story that I've read so I can't really comment on this but it's hard for me to believe that there aren't any stories in which people of different social classes are swapped. I feel like I must have heard of at least one such book but I can't remember which it was. I'll have to look into this.

I am feeling rather meh about it so I should just listen to that. There are other books I want more (will buy Cold Fire this weekend, :D

Biblio brings up a good point. Freaky Friday is my favorite all-time body swap story, but that's more humorous than this seems to be. I acutally just saw this at the library and was wondering about it!

Hm... I haven't heard of this one and now I'm curious. That would be the freakiest thing to wake up as someone else. Yes, I could see my imagination run away with that idea!

how scary - a body swap dream! :-P This sounds good, and I'll be sure to remember your reading advice if I ever do read it. :-)

Blodeuedd: I actually ended up requesting Cold Fire from Netgalley, after you told me it was there, because I didn't feel like waiting until I was able to get around to buying it. Can't wait to get started on it!

StephanieD: No, this wasn't at all like Freaky Friday (is it based on a book) but I imagine there must be many different types of body-swap stories out there. I've just never paid much attention to them before.

Melissa (Books and Things): I had actually never given this any thought until I read this book and, once I did, it really freaked me out.

Brizmus: Hey Audrey!! Welcome back. I think you'd like this book. You should give it a try, if you get the chance.

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