Flip by David LubarTitle: Flip
Author: David Lubar
ISBN: 0765340488
Pages: 304 pages
Pulisher/Date: Starscape, c2003.

“There aren’t any interstellar spaceships,” she said, resuming her lecture. “There aren’t any aliens. And there aren’t any artifacts.”
“Really?”…””Then what’s this?” Ryan asked, pointing at a bed of weeds near his feet?” (16)

Twin eighth-graders Ryan and Taylor McKenzie are nothing alike. Taylor is the straight A+ star athlete who organizes her pencils and likes to get to school early. Ryan could care less about school, sports, or finishing anything he starts, according to his father. However, Ryan is intent on finding pieces of what he believes is an alien spacecraft that blew up during the night. When he finds them, he discovers they have the power to “flip” him into a legendary figure from Earth’s history. Becoming Babe Ruth during gym class might be fun, but becoming Elvis in the lunch room and performing kareoke definitely draws the wrong kind of attention from teachers, students, and parents alike, especially if the school bully is looking for you. Can Taylor convince Ryan to keep a low profile, long enough to stay alive?

This book fell flat for me. There’s not enough aliens for science fiction fans, and there’s not enough history for historical fiction fans. The first half of the book is filled with cliches that the reader has to slug through in order to get to the good part. There is almost no insight into what the bully has against everyone, and only vague references are made towards his relationship with his mother and what can only be assumed is his brother. The opposite twin thing as been done so much, it’s annoying. Ellis, Ryan’s friend, is also annoying, with his rambling monologues about how afraid he is of everything. The plot idea is interesting, but the follow through just wasn’t there for me, especially since some of the more interesting figures are glossed over, like the author ran out of pages or time. If you want twin jealousy, read Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson instead. If you want historical figures in the real world, Beatrice Gormley has a Travelers Through Time series that I enjoyed a lot more. If you want science fiction, the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate would be more fullfilling. The second half makes it a worth while read, since that’s when the characters really come alive, as long as your patient through the somewhat cumbersome first half.

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