Flipped Summary

Wendelin Van Draanen


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Flipped Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.  This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen.

The alternating points of view of two protagonists form the narrative style of Wendelin Van Draanen’s 2001 young adult novel, Flipped. Juli Baker and Bryce Loski share experiences, and in the teen romance give their perspectives on the events that take place in their lives from the mid-1990s to 2000. Adjacent chapters give readers descriptions of the same event once from the first person perspective of one of the pair and the next from that of the other. Juli is a free spirit who has difficulty relating to girls her age, as she is more interested in the things in life she sees as more important, such as appreciating nature, than she is in clothes and other topics of interest to typical young girls. Much of her appreciation of life she learned from her father, a bricklayer who is an artist at heart. He taught his daughter to always pay attention to the big picture in life rather than focusing on only a small part of it. Bryce is an attractive boy with dark hair and blue eyes. He is unfortunately considered a coward. The narrative technique allows the reader to see the true inner feelings of both characters and to understand how the same situation can have a very different interpretation by, and influence on, the participants.

Juli and Bryce are about to start second grade when they first meet. She falls for him as soon as she sees his eyes. He does not return her love. She follows him throughout their childhood years. She spends time near his house and follows him to school. As time goes on, one of Juli’s favorite pastimes is climbing a sycamore tree near the bus stop and watching what goes on around her. She always asks Bryce to join her in the tree. Bryce is extremely shy and does not like the attention she brings to him. He begins to show interest in Shelly Stalls, Juli’s enemy, with the hope of shaking Juli. When with Shelly, he is always on the lookout for Juli which convinces Juli that he is somehow being forced to date Shelly. This leads to a fight between the girls, and to Shelly breaking things off with Bryce, who once again finds himself wanting to avoid Juli. By the time they are in sixth grade, Juli has taken to smelling Bryce’s hair as she sits behind him in class. Not only does it annoy him, but her previous seat had been next to him where he could at least copy answers from her. Bryce becomes conflicted when, along with her sniffing of his hair, Juli begins whispering answers to him. He feels guilty for hating her while she is helping him.

Over the years, Juli has never been able to get Bryce from her mind. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that he does not like to be around her, she continues to devise ways to get him to like her. Juli’s focus in life changes when the sycamore tree from which she observed her neighborhood, and indeed her world, is cut down. Bryce begins to think of Juli with very different emotions when the tree is cut down. He is saddened by this event, especially since she had asked him to climb the tree with her in protest of what was about to become of it, but he refused. He wonders if he could have helped her change the course of events and wants to apologize to her. In his cowardly manner, he stops himself each time he is about to do so. Adding to Bryce’s discomfort with the situation is the fact that his grandfather thinks Juli is nice and tries to push Bryce to establish a friendship with her.

Juli’s mood brightens considerably when her father paints her a picture of her beloved sycamore tree. One of her pleasures in life is sitting outside with her father and watching him paint. She hangs the painting of the tree in her room as a constant reminder.

During their eighth grade year, Juli overhears a conversation that involves Bryce in which he and a friend joke about a disabled uncle. This angers Juli and prompts her to wipe Bryce from her mind. An ironic flip takes place at this point whereby the more Juli ignores Bryce, the more interested in her he becomes. Bryce now sees her intelligence and admires her spirit, while Juli now hates him as he once hated her. Things come to a head at a school fund-raising activity where boys are auctioned off to raise money for charity. The two prettiest girls in the school “buy” Bryce, while Juli buys a boy named Jon because she feels sorry that he did not receive any bids. Bryce goes on a date with Shelly and Miranda, the girls who bought him, but can only think about Juli. When the two girls engage in a fight over Bryce, he goes to the table where Juli sits with her date. He strikes up a conversation, but she is still angry with him.

Bryce becomes more determined to win Juli. He climbs to her window. She ignores him. but is eventually won over when she looks out of the window and sees that he is planting a sycamore tree in her yard. She recognizes his love for her and decides to give him another chance.