Have you ever wished you were someone else, with a completely different life, a new face, a new family? In Martyn Bedford’s new book Flip, Alex wakes up to find himself in a strange bedroom in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country. The woman calling out to him is not his mother and the strangers sitting at the breakfast table aren’t his father or his sister. Alex gets the shock of his life when he looks in the mirror – the face staring back at him is not his either. Is this just a really bad dream or has something terrifying happened to him?
He discovers that the body he now inhabits is that of Philip Garramond (or Flip to his friends), a boy who is almost the complete opposite of Alex. Flip is sporty, fit and popular with the girls (something that Alex has never experienced before). Alex’s initial reaction is to deny that this is actually happening to him, but the more time he spends in Flip’s body the more it seems he’s stuck in this new body. He attempts to contact his parents and returns to his old home, but he’s in Flip’s body so nobody recognises him and he ends up distressing his old family and friends. Alex is determined to find answers and trawls the web for information, leaving his details on various blogs and forums. He finally gets a message from someone called Rob, who leads him to a website about psychic evacuation. This site provides him with the answers he’s been searching for about his condition, and when he meets Rob in person he starts to come to terms with life as Flip. However, Alex holds onto the hope that he can return to his own body and he decides there is only one way to do that. It’s a huge risk and it’s something that he can never undo.
From the very first page, I was swept up in Alex’s story. Martyn Bedford keeps the reader hanging, wondering whether Alex will accept his new life as Flip or try to get his old life back. The tension builds right up to the end and the thrilling climax. Alex is a really interesting and likeable character who I could really empathise with. I know if it were me in his shoes, I’d be determined to get back to my family and my old life. I found myself really wanting to take my time reading Flip because there was so much more to the story than Alex wanting to find out what happened. There is a lot of discussion between Alex and other characters about the nature of the soul/psyche which added to the story, making it have more of an impact on me as a reader. Flip is an excellent first YA novel by Martyn Bedford and I’ll look forward to reading more by him.
Recommended for 14+ 9 out of 10
Check out the amazing book trailer too: