Author: Wendelin Van Draanen
When Julianna first saw him, she flipped. When Bryce first saw her, he ran. Now they’re both in middle school, and their first impressions haven’t changed. She still thinks he has gorgeous eyes. He still wants her to leave her alone. But middle school is a time of changes, and Bryce and Julianna’s relationship isn’t immune…
This was a book club book, or I probably wouldn’t have picked it up at all. Even though I enjoyed Wendelin Van Draanen’s Sammy Keyes books, the part on the back cover where Julianna wonders about kisses would have caused me to put it down and leave it alone.
But it was a book club book, and so I read it.
First off, Bryce’s name drove me crazy. In second grade, I knew a kid named Bryce, and I ended up punching him in the face. (He deserved it.) But once I got past the prejudice that I didn’t like anyone named Bryce, he actually seemed pretty normal. From what I know of boys, anyway.
Julianna, I somewhat liked. She was optimistic and opportunistic and idealistic, and was a generally enjoyable character. I found her crush on Bryce a little annoying, but it’s also pretty true-to-life. I can remember almost the exact same thought process from my first crush.
I’d expected a sort of light-hearted middle school romance, but it really wasn’t. It was sad, and not at all light-hearted. It was sad how something as simple as some eggs led to such a huge divide between Bryce’s family and Julianna’s. If I had to make a guess at what happens after the book ended, I would guess Bryce’s parents get divorced and Bryce gets his heart broke.
One thing I’ve got to say that I liked about this book was the alternating perspectives – getting to see the same event through two different pairs of eyes. Bryce saw Julianna’s science fair experiment as a prime example of her teacher’s pet, overachiever-ness. Julianna saw it as something she didn’t choose but that ended up being really cool. And I found that very fun to read.
I didn’t find this book enjoyable, mainly because it was such a downer, but I did find it interesting. I don’t regret the read, but I wouldn’t have picked it up on my own, and I won’t be reading it again.