04 February 2011

Flip; Martyn Bedford

FlipFlip by Martyn Bedford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The other "body switch" books I've read recently (Jump and Out of Sight, Out of Mind) have been Message books: the switchee has learned some Great Lesson about their life and are now somehow a changed person. Not so here.

Alex is late getting home, and when he wakes up the next morning, he's in another room... another body... another city... and it's six months later. He's suddenly a relatively popular (two girlfriends!), athletic, not-quite-the-smartest bulb, middle-class boy named Flip, a far-cry from the unpopular, asthmatic, clarinet and chess playing Londoner he was. Of course he's confused, and of course Flip's friends and family are equally confused.

He starts by calling "Mom", and is told by a work friend of hers that he's evil and should never call again. He does some research on the internet and learns that Alex is in a Persistive Vegetative State (aka a coma) and has been since - you guessed it - the night he was late getting home, when he was hit by a car. So of course he heads down to London to see his family and his body, and equally of course it ends badly.

More research, and he learns that there's a group of people on-line who have had similar psychic evacuations, where their soul has jumped into another body after their physical body has died. Problem is, Alex' body is still alive. So now his soul has to figure out a way to get back into his body and to give Flip's body his soul back.

Once you've bought the premise, the book becomes somewhat predictable. Alex/Flip's voice, confusion and actions are all very realistic, and the adults are appropriately sketchy (better than the Peanuts' disembodied mwahmwahmwah voice, but not fully-realized people). Rob/Chris is the weak link, even though he is pivotal to the plot.

Usually this sort of book is for girls, but this one will definitely appeal to boys.

ARC provided by publisher.

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