Megan’s a winner!
As part of the Angus Book Award (see previous post, Pick of the Picts), students at the eight participating schools were invited to enter a review of one of the shortlisted books into a competition.
The winning entry, a review of Flip, was written by Megan Merino, of Montrose Academy, and is reproduced here with her kind permission and with the co-operation of Kevin Reid, of the Educational Resources Service, in Angus, which does such a brilliant job of organising the annual award.
As you’ll see, it’s an intelligent, well-crafted and thoughtful piece of literary criticism and Megan can feel justifiably proud of her success. (I’m also pleased, and relieved, that she liked my book!)
Anyway, here’s what she wrote:
Flip review by Megan Merino, Montrose Academy.
I recently read FLIP by Martyn Bedford. It is a book about a fourteen year old boy named Alex who wakes up in someone else’s body. He wasn’t a popular boy as Alex. He played clarinet and liked playing chess and listening to The Killers but when he wakes up in fourteen year old Philip’s body, he experiences life being ‘cool’. He went to bed in London on December 22nd and woke up on June 23rd in a strange house inside another boy’s body that he didn’t even know. The novel goes through the emotional roller-coaster Alex (Philip) goes through.
The first 20-30 pages made the book seem like a typical ‘I woke up in someone else’s body’ story. This type of story is very typical and I have seen it in movies like ‘Freaky Friday’, ‘The Change Up’, ’17 Again’ etc. However, as the book went on it had a very different feel to all of these movies. Alex’s character was described in great depth and I really felt like he was real. Despite the fictional storyline, I really felt like I could understand what he was going through.
When he first woke up in Philips body he didn’t know what to do and didn’t even know if what he was going through was reality or if it was some kind of hallucination. He had to get used to things like Philips athletic build and talent, the fact that his lungs were functioning normally unlike his own asthmatic lungs. He has to get used to the way everyone acts around him as well as this is the only way he can ‘get into character’ to pretend like he was Alex. He goes online and finds more information about what has happened to him. He finds a website of bloggers who claim to have had similar experiences to him. He then finds Rob. Rob is a young man who switched bodies a few years before Alex and he helps him through everything, like an older brother. They get on really well and whenever Alex feels alone or angry he would have Rob to talk to about everything.
The characterisation was really effective in this book. I loved Cherry’s character because she was so down to earth and sweet. Alex’s character was so well portrayed that even when he was in someone else’s body you could still feel his personality shine through. I liked the different relationships Alex made with the other characters, especially the relationship between him and Cherry.
There were various different themes throughout the novel that made it more enjoyable to read. For example the message that even though most teenagers wish they could have someone else’s body or even a part of someone else’s body because you’re insecure or unhappy about your own, when this actually happened to Alex all he wanted to do was return to his own body despite his imperfections. So many teenagers wish they could either be someone else or hate various things about themselves but this book shows that there is no one that Alex would rather be than himself.
Another aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the relationship between Cherry and Philip (Alex). The way people act around Philips body made Alex realise he was quite self-centred and didn’t really care about school etc. At first he takes this opportunity to meet up his two very attractive girlfriends and go out drinking with his friends but the more he follows Philips life he realises it’s not for him. He meets a girl called Cherry. She is a sweet, eccentric and lovely and he can’t help but fall for her. She is surprised at the fact that Philip Garamond, one of the most popular boys in school, is taking an interest in her even though he would usually go right passed her, oblivious to her existence. Even though Philip was unaware of it, Alex was making him a better person, so much so that people started questioning Philips weird behaviour.
At the end of the book Alex returns to his own body and things go back to normal. I thought this part of the book wasn’t the best. I found the ending very confusing and i didn’t really know what was going on through the process of the switching back. However i did like the fact that when he returned to his own body he started appreciating his life so much more than he did before the whole switch happened. I guess you could say everything happens for a reason. Even though the switch was a dramatic and scary experience, he came out of it a changed person because he finally realised the positive things in his life that he missed when he didn’t have access to it in Philip’s body. In my opinion this was another important factor of the book that people can relate to. The fact that you are never happy with what you have but as soon as it is taken away from you, you realise that what you had was unique and it’s you.
Over all thought the book was really good and I couldn’t put it down. Although it was a very common story, it was portrayed in a different way. It was one of my favourite books in the line-up.