Flip

Alex couldn’t have said what woke him that morning.

How do you get used to living in someone else’s body? Martyn Bedford manages to use a well-trodden trope (body swap) for a bittersweet coming of age story about two very different teenage boys.  And how you only know what you have when it’s gone.

Alex is a teen of the side-lines of his own life. He’s not actively bullied, but he’s not without abuse either. Not many friends, not many excitement. Until he wakes up in a strange bed, in a strange house, thousands of miles away from his own home. He’s not even in his own body any more, having slipped into the life of another teenage boy.

What follows is trying to adjust while trying to understand what happened, seeing what went wrong in his life and realizing that even something that looks better (popularity, money, girlfriends) can be empty or not all that desirable.

The “scientific” experience of everything doesn’t completely fit in with the themes of getting to know yourself and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but it isn’t stretched in such a way that it becomes obnoxious. Flip is a sweet story that’s smarter than it might look from its summary.

Flip, Martyn Bedford, Walker Books 2011

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