Flip

( 15 )

Overview

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...

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Flip

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Overview

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.

Shortlisted for the 2011 Costa Children's Book Award

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Adult novelist Bedford (The Houdini Girl) makes his YA debut with a moving tale that juggles realistic high school fiction with fantasy while deftly avoiding clichés from both genres. Teenage Alex wakes up one day to find that he has no memory of the past six months of his life and is stuck in the body of a teenager named Philip (nicknamed Flip). As he attempts to live his new life, he learns that his actual body is across the country, in a coma, and that there are others who have swapped bodies as well. Alex is torn between the opportunities a life in Flip's body offers—no asthma, gorgeous girlfriends—and the knowledge that this isn't really his life. Bedford does an excellent job of getting into the mind of a teenager, focusing less on the reason behind the switch than on Alex's concerns about how his friends and family (in both bodies) are affected by the situation. A few missteps—Alex's reluctance to avoid researching his own history being the most notable—don't make the story any less engrossing. Ages 14–up. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2011:
"Bedford packs so much exhilarating action and cleanly cut characterizations into his teen debut that readers will be catapulted headfirst into Alex’s strange new world...The mysteries are countless: What is a soul? Where does it go when its human host ceases to function? Bedford adeptly sweeps the existential curtain aside and tackles these heavy questions as the tension soars."

Starred Review, School Library Journal, June 2011:
"It’s an immediately engaging story, with careful pacing and strong characterizations that add depth to the basic premise...The author uses Alex’s predicament to examine questions of identity, family, and the human soul in ways that are involving and thought-provoking."

Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
What is it that truly makes a person who they are? That is something fourteen-year-old Alex wants to know. Somehow he has found himself in the wrong body and no one seems to realize it but him. The last moment he can remember is six months earlier. Now, he is suddenly a popular boy (his same age) named Philip—living on the other side of England. His attempts to contact old friends and his family turn up nothing but more questions and a few futile trips to the police station. With the help of an on-line group for those experiencing psychic evacuation (the term for people who have swapped souls in an effort to escape death) he finds the answers he is looking for. With a little gumption and a lot of risk he eventually sets everything right again and is much wiser and more self-aware than when his strange journey began. This is a psychological thriller that packs a dramatic punch while delving into deep, sensitive questions about God, death, identity and the nature of souls. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Alex wakes up in the body of a complete stranger—another 14-year-old boy named "Flip"—in this gripping novel. He soon realizes that it's been six months since he was "himself." While dealing with the immediate challenges of negotiating a strange new world, he tries to figure out what caused the switch, how he might reverse it, and what could possibly be going on with his own body. It's an immediately engaging story, with careful pacing and strong characterizations that add depth to the basic premise. Alex's experiences, though sometimes humorous, are never played strictly for laughs. The boy feels real urgency to contact his true family and the strategies and results of his attempts create real plot tension. New revelations keep the story moving forward swiftly, but never predictably. The author uses Alex's predicament to examine questions of identity, family, and the human soul in ways that are involving and thought-provoking. Alex acts and thinks in ways that most readers will identify with: he's confused, frustrated, and occasionally desperate, but, at the same time, is curious and thoughtful about his bizarre new life and family. He samples some of the benefits of being Flip, including a popularity that Alex never enjoyed, but always yearns to be himself again, which leads to an exciting and particularly satisfying climax.—Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen-year-old geeky musician Alex wakes up hundreds of miles from his London home in the body of Philip Garamond, a high-school soccer star and girl magnet nicknamed Flip. Though asthmatic Alex is intrigued by his new, fit body and the attention it draws, he soon realizes he's trapped in a new environment with new expectations that he can't live up to. Along the way he meets Rob, a veteran of the same condition—psychic evacuation—who decides to take Alex under his wing. Bedford packs so much exhilarating action and cleanly cut characterizations into his teen debut that readers will be catapulted headfirst into Alex's strange new world. They'll wince in pain as the police escort him from a vain attempt to reconnect with his real family and rally when he connects with a new girl whom Flip would normally never look at twice. They'll also wonder about Flip himself, who, besides Alex's nightmares, exists only in the expectations and memories of the people Alex encounters. The mysteries are countless: What is a soul? Where does it go when its human host ceases to function? Bedford adeptly sweeps the existential curtain aside and tackles these heavy questions as the tension soars. Alex has to figure out why his soul overtook Flip's body, and how—if at all—he can get back into his own before it's too late.(Thriller. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375865527
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/10/2012
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 247,122
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

MARTYN BEDFORD has written five adult novels, including The Houdini Girl (Vintage). A former journalist, he teaches  at Leeds Trinity University College. Martyn lives in West Yorkshire, England, with his wife and two daughters. Flip is his first novel for young adults.

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Read an Excerpt

1

Alex couldn't have said what woke him that morning. It might have been the weird dream, or Mum calling up the stairs, or the sunlight streaming into the room. He lay in bed with that leftover adrenaline feeling of having been jolted out of a nightmare—it was forgotten the instant you woke up, but it vibrated in your mind like the aftershock of a slammed door. His legs were tangled in the duvet and his right arm was trapped beneath him, useless with pins and needles. He eased onto his back.

Another shout: "Come on, you're going to be late."

Late for what? It was a Saturday; he didn't have to be anywhere. She sounded odd, his mum—she had that familiar tone (I'm really losing my patience now), but there was something that he couldn't put his finger on. Probably she was just in one of her strops. Had Mum been cross with him when he'd come home the night before? Alex couldn't recall. As it happened, he had no recollection of coming in at all, but obviously, he must've done. The last thing he remembered was leaving David's at five to ten and running to beat his curfew. They'd spent the evening playing chess (he'd won), surfing YouTube, listening to the Killers. The usual.

He made a fist, then unclenched it. The pins and needles were gone but his arm still felt clumsy; all his limbs and joints seemed heavy. His mouth tasted foul. If he was coming down with something on the first weekend of the Christmas holiday, that would be so typical. But he didn't feel ill. He . . . well, Alex wasn't sure how he felt, exactly. Just out of sorts. A fragment of his nightmare resurfaced: a ladder, or a staircase, or a hill—something steep, anyway—and he was scrambling up it as fast as he could, with some creature grabbing at his feet, and Alex trying to kick himself free. What happened next, he didn't know. That must've been when he woke up. Maybe it was all to do with his legs being twisted in the bedding. "Philip! It's five to eight!"

No way could it be five to eight, with all this sunshine. More like ten or eleven. Alex turned to look at the alarm clock on his bedside table.

The clock wasn't there. Nor was the table.

Instead, there was a wall, and the wall wasn't blue and silver stripes anymore; it was a plain pale yellow. Now he thought about it, the daylight was coming in from the wrong angle. Alex sat up. The window wasn't where it should've been. Those weren't his curtains, either. That wasn't his wardrobe; those weren't his shelves; that wasn't his CD player; those weren't his posters (Basketball? Cricket?); and the carpet had been replaced by bare floorboards and a huge red and gold rug that looked like something out of Aladdin. Where were his clarinet stand, his music stand? How come his desk (which wasn't his desk and wasn't where it should have been) had a flat-screen PC on it? Why was his room so big?

Alex tried to figure out whose room this might be—whose house—and what on earth he was doing here. Why he was wearing another boy's T-shirt instead of his own pajamas. Why, in December, there was a thin summer duvet on the bed. And if that woman hollering up the stairs (again) wasn't his mother, whose was she? Philip's, presumably. Philip! she had shouted. Yes, it was Philip she was cross with, not Alex. In another bedroom, Philip was failing to get up in time for something. Philip was the key to this. The rational explanation. Dad reckoned there was a rational explanation for everything, even things that made no sense at all. UFOs, ghosts, God—they're just the names people have come up with for stuff they haven't worked out yet.

So the rational explanation: on his way home from David's, Alex had dropped by Philip's place and ended up crashing there for the night. Now he'd woken up too dopey, too confused to remember having done so. Like when you go on holiday and the first morning, you wake up surprised to find yourself in an unfamiliar bedroom. The part of his brain that expected him to be in his own room, his own home, was disoriented, failing to compute the messages his eyes were sending. Any moment now, it would all come back to him. That was it: the logical, reasonable, rational explanation.

Which would've been fine if he'd known anyone called Philip.

This was a big house. Off the landing outside the bedroom in which he'd woken up, there were three other doors (all closed), one set of stairs leading down and a narrow staircase ascending to what he supposed must be a converted attic. He tried each of the doors in turn: two bedrooms and a bathroom. Called up the stairs. Nothing. No people. No sign of "Philip," although one of the bedrooms looked recently slept in. A girl's room, not a boy's. A gothic teenage-angst thing was going on in there. He went down to the ground floor, to a high-ceilinged hallway that gave on to a sitting room, with another room off that. Both empty. Radio sounds drifted up through the floor. The kitchen had to be down in the basement, which was where he'd find the woman who had been yelling up the stairs. Philip's mum. When he found her, Alex would discover the solution to the puzzle of where he was, and why.

 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    A decent read...

    The book was okay. I read it when i was bored over the span of a couple days. During some parts of it had to force myself to read it. Other parts however sparked my interest and made me keepreading to find out how the book ended. Overall, if the book sounds interesting to you--do what i did and get it from the library. :)

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    Flip

    from Murphy's Library

    Alex, a 14 years old ordinary teenager, sees his life been taken away when he wakes up and realizes that's not his own body. Now he's Philip-as known as just Flip-, but he has no idea how to talk or act like him. Flip plays sports, Alex plays a clarinet and chess. Flip is popular and Alex is more the nerd kind of boy. And Flip has a girlfriend-well, two-, while Alex has never even kissed a girl.

    But, most of all, Alex needs to find out how he ends up trapped inside Flip's body, where is Flip, and where is his own body. With internet and cellphones, it doesn't take him too long to find out the truth-a scary and cruel one.

    I couldn't put this book down. I started reading it on the day I got it from Book it Forward Tours, and soon I was done reading it. It's an emotional roller coaster, we see Alex struggling with his own problems-and dealing with Flip's problems as well-, and it's tough when he finds out what happened to him. He questions a lot what's the soul, why that happened to him and how he can deal-or not-with his new reality. I kinda saw the ending coming, but the way Bedford wrote it is breathtaking!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A clear, concise, absolutely fun and entertaining story

    Alex Gray went to bed on Friday night after returning from his best friend's house. Yet, here it was, Saturday morning, and his Mom is screaming from downstairs to get up.he's late for school! Alex is so confused. It's December 22nd and there is no school for two weeks. It's Christmas break and he's ready to rest. The woman screams again. "Philip, get down here!" Who's Philip? Alex Gray opens his eyes to a bedroom he's never seen before in his life. There's no dull, gray winter sky outside his London room - it's beautiful, it's warm, it's sunny.and it's not London. He's sitting in the middle of a green, lush countryside. Wearing strange pajamas, Alex Gray walks through a house he's never seen into a kitchen that's filled with the smell of croissants (which Alex really dislikes), a girl dressed all in black with purple hair, named Teri, and a tall, lean Mom who looks like a 'cross between a human and a giraffe.' Running back upstairs, his mind racing, Alex Gray soon finds out that although he went to sleep as Alex Gray - he is now Philip Garamond - a boy he's never met - and Alex Gray's life is gone. Readers stand by Alex's side as he goes to school as the 'coolest' kid in class. Philip is called Flip, and he has two girlfriends, he smokes, and is a complete and utter rebel in his town. Alex tries desperately to contact his family and his old friends but the phone numbers either don't work, or when he gets them they start screaming at him about how horrible he is to even mention Alex Gray. If he calls again, they'll call the cops. Well.there is a reason - a frightening one - Alex Gray has experienced what a man named Rob calls psychic evacuation; going to sleep as one body and waking up in another. Why evacuate your own body? Well, Alex Gray is hanging on to life in a hospital room and Flip must find a way to either live as Philip Garamond, or get his own body to wake up so he can go home. This is an outstanding tale with twists and turns and characters appearing out of nowhere to keep the story moving right along. Usually an adult novel writer, Martyn Bedford has taken his first step into the Young Adult world. And he is most definitely someone who should stay. Quill Says: A clear, concise, absolutely fun and entertaining story that offers as much thrills and chills as it does humor, love, and an in-depth look on the will and desire to survive. A fantastic read!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    good read

    I got to read this book before it came out for my book club. It was very good and interesting to read. The idea if being in somebody else's body was extremely interesting. Great story.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    Flip is a unique and entertaining book to read. I liked the book

    Flip is a unique and entertaining book to read. I liked the book because it seemed different and looked like it would make me ask questions while reading it. Just imagine waking up to find yourself in someone else body. Thats what happens to Alex an ordinary boy that flips into a boy name Philip that lives in another part of England. I felt like the author did a great job of creating a cast of characters overall. It was interesting how Alex dealt with the situation as his new self. Overall, the book is a great read for anyone who wants to get entertained.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2014

    is this a good book dont care for the cover

    is this a good book dont care for the cover

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    Flip

    It was okay......

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Ben

    I at yalls book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Ashley

    Yeah i guess...wht r u dooing?..

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    Jessa

    A slave at mms result three. She is really se.xy. Come and get her before she's gone!!!!!! ;)

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    Anonymous

    Is this good? Don't like cover

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Pretty good

    Its hard to read for an amercian english speaker

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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