Novel Thoughts

Novel Thoughts | Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Surprisingly enough, I don’t talk about prom often enough considering how much of my senior life shaped who I am today.

I recently reread a fanfiction based on the novel Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen set four years after the novel where prom is the beginning and end to the story. The Ballad of Big Nothing by Attica. It reminded me so much of my life in high school and inspired this post.

What is Flipped?

I borrowed Flipped from the local library and never returned it because I loved it so much, I reread it over and over and ultimately forgot where I had placed it. In the end, I paid about $14 worth of fine. I found the book around the time my eldest sister and I were packing books to donate. It still had the plastic cover with the library bar-code.

I’m pretty sure I kept the book, but ever since moving home in 2011, all our books have been in storage, yet to be unboxed. I share a room, so I don’t have a lot of storage, especially since my school stuff now takes up most of what little space I do have.

Then, once again we were reunited when I found out they’d be making a film based on the novel in 2010. Books turned into movies are often questionable and never quite up to my expectations… coughTheHobbitcough … coughTheGivercough. I was skeptical in watching Flipped, so it probably took me about a year or more to finally give it a chance.

In the end, I really loved it. The film was a great adaptation of the novel in my perspective. I felt, the actors got the characters spot on and the feeling of young love, coming of age, that I felt when I first read it- back when I was only 13/14.

It was strange watching it in my late teens- 20 maybe. And then again very recently when my cousin visited because we have almost similar taste in novels.

I still have those same feelings every time I watch it, of being young and happily liking others while learning more about myself.

The fanfiction brought a whole new depth for me.

I hated my prom because I couldn’t enjoy it.

I had gone to prom with one of my best friends because we’d gotten really close near the end of the year, sharing our problems involving family and friends. Unfortunately, these days, I don’t remember much about people. I don’t have a good memory, not like what I used to have. Anyway, we went to prom together because, well, going together was like going alone and going together was better. We were relaxed around each other.

I spent prom sitting out with another friend, who was also having a really bad time. We sulked together and I left my date on his own, pretty much telling everyone, I wasn’t feeling well.

The truth was…

I was still really broken inside by not just my school problems and family issues. I wasn’t just consumed by own depression, but also from being rejected.

Everyone should know this story by now, but to recap, I confessed to a boy back in September of my senior year. It was the first time I’d ever acted on a for sure feeling. But I was rejected and treated like nothing happened. A lot of stuff occurred that strained our friendship for some time. Even though we were able to get past it and rekindle whatever messed up friendship we had, I was stuck in a place of feeling like I’d made a mistake.


Life, right?

I told my parents that I confessed that same night. My mom told me, “the person who says I love you first, loses.” I suppose, that stuck with me. And I was never again the same with my feelings. I didn’t use to deny liking boys. I just simply stayed quiet. With this situation, everyone somehow knew, and it was difficult to pretend that I didn’t like him anymore, but I had to keep up that pretense because we’d finally fallen back into a rhythm I recognized. I secretly kept liking him.

And just like in Flipped, that feeling never left. It’s only now that it has finally started to dissipate.

I regret prom so much. I wasted that night pining over a guy, who never even saw me the way I saw him and left my friends hanging… over a guy.

We can do a lot or very little when it comes to love; I just never thought I’d be the kind of person to forget my priorities.

Love is scary and I learned a lot of that from Flipped.

Sometimes, I wish I could fix the wrong choices and other times, I want to encounter a similar situation and be able to advise someone to make the most of their situation.

Prom and a lot of my senior year shaped my fears and my confidences. I regret not dancing the night away and not getting into fun conversations throughout snack breaks or just simply living in the moment. Back then, I was filled with so many negative feelings and I let it eat away at me.

I have moments when I think about apologizing to my friend or the one I sat with the whole night. I should have danced and talked my friend into letting all those feelings go.

Five years later…

…and I still think about it. I still think about what I could’ve done instead, knowing I can’t do anything about it.

I’ve spent a lot of my life worrying about my future; I forget that I still have the present to live. I’m good with falling for someone and telling them now, but it took me half a decade to let myself grow into that. I want to not regret telling him I liked him, but I’ll still regret the days and nights I spent wasting away because he didn’t like me.

In the end, Flipped for me is a marker in my life love history. I learned a lot from reading the novel, watching, and reading fanfics. It’s brought a lot of things for me. Mainly, Juli was a character that always resonated with me. She was someone I wanted to be. How she was a person and how she loved. Everything about her, they were good.


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