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Roll out the red carpet

Local young writers respond to Flipped



A few weeks back, New Times put out a call for young readers and writers to send in their own short reviews of Flipped, a book by local author Wendelin Van Draanen. We’ve selected three winners, who will each get to bring a friend or family member along to a fancy-dress red-carpet premiere at Fair Oaks Theater in Arroyo Grande on Aug. 21.

The movie, rated PG, was directed by Rob Reiner, who lifted the characters from their modern setting and transplanted them in the early ’60s. Reiner co-wrote the screenplay with Andrew Scheinman.

“It’s just a very nice feeling that this thing you put your heart and soul into … is being enjoyed by someone you don’t even know,” Van Draanen said of learning Reiner was eager to bring her book to the screen.

Van Draanen is also the author of the Sammy Keyes mystery series, the Shredderman quartet, The Gecko and Sticky series, and several standalone novels, including Runaway, Confessions of a Serial Kisser, and Swear to Howdy.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winners.

Contact Executive Editor Ryan Miller at


Isabella Stenvall

age 12

Romeo and Juliet. Adam and Eve. Bonnie and Clyde. And now, Juli and Bryce. Out of all the love stories out there, this charming tale of these two very different people is one of my favorites. Flipped layers heartfelt moments with times that make you laugh in a way that makes the book impossible to put down.


In the beginning, Bryce Loski thinks of Juli as an annoying girl with no respect for privacy. But Juli Baker is crazy for him. She calls his eyes “breathtaking” and says his hair smells like watermelon. During the middle of the book, Juli convinces herself that Bryce is both a liar and a coward. At the same time, Bryce falls in love with Juli. He finally tries to kiss her, unsuccessfully, and leaves Juli more confused than ever. I would hate to spoil the end of the book, but let’s just say it left me smiling.


Flipped is a story about not only discovering the people around you, but discovering yourself as well. It has taught me to look at the big picture, especially when your world has been “flipped” around.



Barrie Greeley

age 13

In the novel Flipped, Wendelin Van Draanen tells a classic story of young love. When Julianna first sees Bryce, she immediately likes him. Bryce, however, has different thoughts. Over the years, from grade school through high school, each experiences frustration, happiness, disappointment, and love. Every love story has complications, but very few have the twist that shows both points of view in equal measure. The audience has the advantage of experiencing firsthand the thoughts and motivations of both of the main characters.


Never judge a book by its cover. This is one of the main themes in this story. Bryce automatically rejects Julianna because of the way she looks and acts. Bryce thought her rude and disrespectful, when her actions really just expressed her joy that he was there. Unfortunately, he never took the time to get to know her until very late in the novel.


I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys reading. Even after completing the book, I can still see the vivid descriptions in my mind’s eye. Overall, Flipped is a new American classic that will be enjoyed by people of all ages for many years to come.



Aimie Olson

age 11

When Bryce moves into Julianna’s neighborhood, it is love at first sight. For her, that is. Bryce dislikes and avoids his bossy, embarrassing neighbor. But as they both get older, incidents show Juli that Bryce is a coward! He only cares what people think of him; what’s right is thrown to the side. On the other hand, Bryce is beginning to change, too. He starts to think about Juli’s feelings and realizes what a coward he is. Then he starts to like Juli. The two kids’ feelings have completely FLIPPED.


I really liked how the author let us hear both sides of the story. I feel if it was only Bryce’s story, then Julianna wouldn’t feel like a friend of mine going through hard times. If it was only Juli’s story, then I would not have felt sorry for Bryce!


I also liked how the characters changed throughout the book. That made the story much more realistic and exciting. Flipped is a book I will read over and over again. Thanks, Wendelin Van Draanen!

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