Flip by Martyn Bedford
|Flip by Martyn Bedford|
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be somebody else? Are you really happy in your own skin? And if you're not in your own skin....well, where are you? That’s what Flip is all about.
It’s also about Alex. No, Philip. Actually, it’s Flip. Hmm? Confused? Yes. So is he. They. So I’ll just call him Alex.
This award-winning novel kept me on my toes. At first, I thought it’s a comedy. A contemporary comedy. But, hey, waking up in somebody else’s body. Uh no, that’s got to be some kind of science fiction – or even fantasy! But comedy it is as Alex struggles to become Philip who is the complete opposite to him. Philip is good-looking, sporty and has girls drooling all over him. Alex – not so much. So you see the problem. Not to mention taking a shower in someone else’s body.
As Alex battles with this new body, this new identity, this new life, his mind delves deeper and deeper into his existence. Who Am I? – in both the literal and figurative sense. Then, thanks to the internet, the novel darkens and typical elements of a thriller emerge. There are some really, really scary bits: I bet a shiver runs down your spine more than once. And at quite a few points, I thought, how on earth is this going to end? Pretty much what Alex must have been asking himself too.
Flip is a great teen read (and lots of adults will like it too), worthy of all the book award nominations received and won. It is probably more suitable for older teens because of the subject matter and situations in the novel. But some mature 11 or 12 year olds may be comfortable reading it. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly light start though. This is a deep and satisfyingly challenging read that raises (and to some extent explores) very controversial questions about life, death, and the choices we make about them.
And how about that cover! Do you know how many people looked at me curiously and said, "You've got the book upside down"?
Walker Books, 2011, London, paperback
This copy: borrowed from our local public library