Wendelin Van Draanen

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Juli Baker flipped the first time she met Bryce Loski. She was in second grade, and Bryce had just moved in across the street. Here's how she describes it: Read the following passage from pp. 13-14 in the hardcover edition: "I chased Bryce up the walkway, and that's when everything changed. You see, I caught up to him and grabbed his arm, trying to stop him so maybe we could play a little before he got trapped inside, and the next thing I know, he's holding my hand, looking right into my eyes. My heart stopped. It just stopped beating.... I almost got my first kiss that day. I'm sure of it."

Bryce remembers things a little differently.Read the following passage from pp. 2-3: "I heard her coming after me but I couldn't believe it. Maybe it just sounded like she was chasing me; maybe she was really going the other way. But before I got up the nerve to look, she blasted right past me, grabbing my arm and yanking me along. This was too much. I planted myself and was about to tell her to get lost when the weirdest thing happened. I was making this big windmill motion to break away from her, but somehow on the downswing my hand wound up tangling into hers. I couldn't believe it. There I was, holding the mud monkey's hand!"

And that's the way things were from 2nd grade until 7th: Juli crazy about Bryce; Bryce trying to avoid Juli.But by 8th grade, everything's flipped. Bryce says, "I'd spent so many years avoiding Juli Baker that I'd never really looked at her, but now I couldn't stop." And Juli says, "I felt a cold, hard knot tighten in my heart. I was through with Bryce Loski."What has caused this drastic change? Will Bryce and Juli ever be a couple?

Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. Bryce's grandfather says about Juli, "Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss.... But every once in a while you find someone who's iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare." What makes Juli iridescent?
  2. Why do Bryce and Juli's feelings for each other flip? Has your opinion about someone ever flipped?
  3. Would you prefer to live in Bryce's family or Juli's family? Why?
  4. When Juli and her dad talk about Bryce, her dad tells her to "start looking at the whole landscape." What do you think he means? Does Juli see the whole landscape?
  5. Bryce keeps throwing out Juli's eggs because he doesn't want to tell her the Loskis don't want them. Do you think this was the right thing to do? What would you have done?
  6. Juli tries hard to save the old sycamore tree because she loves it so much. Is there anything you would fight to save like Juli does?
  7. Why has Juli not visited her Uncle David before?
  8. Juli's brothers Matt and Mike say that they don't like "the whole robotron attitude of education. Confine, confute, conform." What do they mean? Is your school like theirs?
  9. Did you like it better when Bryce or Juli told the story? How did hearing from both points of view make you understand what was happening?
  10. If the book continued, what do you think would happen to Bryce and Juli?

If you like this book, try

  • The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
  • Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks by Kate Klise
  • Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot


Egg-shaped candies

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.