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A he-said-she-said chick lit/teen romance novel by Wendelin Van Draanen taking place in circa 1994-2000 about a boy named Bryce and a girl named Julianna. When they meet in second grade, Juli becomes infatuated with Bryce and clings to him like a parasite. But Bryce doesn't feel like returning the favor, him being girl-phobic and easily embarrassed. Bryce does everything he can to keep his wannabe girlfriend at bay for the next few years, which isn't easy since they go to the same school and live across the street from one another. The story follows them from grade school to junior high, through triumph and disaster, family drama and first love, as they make the discoveries that will define who they are - and who they are to each other.

It was released in 2000 to acclaim and several awards, and it got a movie adaptation in 2010 which received mixed reception and bombed at the box office.


The film and book contains examples of:

  • The '60s: The film moves the setting to 1963.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: How Bryce views Juli. And then how Juli sees Bryce after he tries to kiss her at the end.
  • Abusive Dad: Mr. Loski borders on this in the movie, going so far as to hit Bryce's sister. In fairness to him, it happens one time, and as such he's not a full-on example of the trope.
    • Also somewhat mollifying the situation, he was under stress from trying to shift his views on Juli's family, it was pointed out to him earlier that night that he'd lost a vital part of himself when he quit his band, he'd been drinking fairly steadily, and it was after she called him an asshole, which was much more of an issue at the time when the film was set.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Bryce is black haired and blue eyed in the book, but in the movie he's blond and brown eyed.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Several characters went through this for the movie, mostly their first names.
    • Shelly Stalls - Sherry Stalls
    • David Baker - Daniel Baker
    • Mike Baker - Mark Baker
    • Rick Loski - Steven Loski
    • Jon Trulock - Eddie Trulock
    • Darla Tressler - Dana Tressler
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  • Adult Fear: Addressed in-story. When Mr. Loski implies that Juli's uncle is is mentally disabled due to genes, Chet reveals that it was actually due to the umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck twice. Mrs. Loski bursts into tears because the same thing nearly happened to Bryce as a baby. There is Bryce's fear that if things had gone wrong, then his dad wouldn't love him as much or sacrifice for him the way Juli's father did.
  • Alliterative Name: Lynetta Loski, Shelly Stalls.
  • Alpha Bitch: Not according to Bryce at first but in Juli's narrative chapters, fellow classmate Shelly Stalls is this.
  • An Aesop: There’s a subtle message that teaches readers that falling in love with your fantasy of a person rather than the reality of who they are will only lead to disappointment and heartbreak, as Patsy Loski has learned the hard way.
  • Bachelor Auction: Bryce is put through this and is sold to the most popular girl in school, Shelly. He is not happy about this however because he wanted to be bid on by Juli who bid on the boy before him.
    • He also lampshades the Double Standard of the trope, noting that if they were auctioning off the girls, no one would think it was cute.
  • Betty and Veronica: Juli and Shelly/Sherry (and later Miranda) for Bryce. Subverted in that Bryce has no interest in Shelly; he only uses her to annoy and avoid Juli.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Robert Baker for his brother David. Juli's narration mentions that both her grandparents are dead and he dropped out of college so it’s implied Robert had to quit school to care for David.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mr. Loski in the book, who hides a lot of petty hatred under a smooth exterior; he's a bit more obvious about it in the movie, where he borders on Abusive Dad. Juli thinks Shelly is an example, but while she's a little shallow and catty, she's hardly evil; Juli for a while also thinks this of Bryce and hates herself for being infatuated even after she's decided to no longer pursue him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On the one hand, the Loskis are having more than a rough patch in their marriage, and it's implied Patty will divorce Steven, throwing Bryce and Lynetta's home life into disarray though Chet is proud of her for finally standing up for herself. Despite that, Bryce resolves to not be like his father or the person he was and shows with his actions that he is sincerely sorry for how he treated Juli. He plants a new sycamore tree in her backyard, that no one will cut down this time. Juli decides to at least give him a second chance at talking and resolves to find out who he actually is.
  • Bowdlerized: Some editions of the book have Lynetta calling her father a "jackass" rather an an "asshole".
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Lynetta Loski, Bryce's older sister. She deliberately causes drama by wearing too much makeup and playing the Baker brothers' rock music at an already awkward family dinner.
  • Broken Pedestal: Bryce for his father when he realizes that the latter is a Jerkass and a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. The tipping point finally comes when Mr. Loski slaps Lynetta after the awkward dinner with the Bakers.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Mr. Loski should have realized this would happen when he started needling Chet about helping Juli with her yard. It ended up with a fight with his wife, and a night sleeping on the couch.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Averted with Juli's parents when she asks then why their yard is dirty. She realizes the sacrifices they've made for Uncle David, and decides to handle the problem on her own.
    • Mr. Loski tries to do this to Chet about helping to clean Juli's yard and ignoring Bryce, but he gets the tables turned on him, invoking the trope's inversion.
    • It culminates in Lynetta doing the same to her father, which earns her a slap for calling him an "asshole".
  • Cat Fight: Between Shelly and Miranda at the Basket Boy auction. It's not played for fanservice; instead, Bryce is bewildered that these two girls are willing to waste his mother's food on smearing each other's faces.
  • Character Development:
    • Bryce in particular gets quite a bit, moving from a deliberately shallow Stepford Smiler to a genuinely nice, if very confused, kid that becomes brave enough to do the right thing when the occasion calls for it. The exact moment this starts is when his mother wants the Bakers over for dinner, and he decides to confess to her about what he did with Juli's eggs rather than sabotage the dinner as he considers.
    • Juli, conversely, starts learning to see past people's surfaces and look at what's underneath. This proves problematic when it comes to Bryce, who is between the stages of Jerkass and Jerkass Realization.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Both of them almost end up as Unlucky Childhood Friends to one another, but after much growing up on both their parts they go the victorious route instead.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Mr. Loski accuses Chet of this when Chet spends his time helping Juli with yard work rather than spending quality time with Lynetta or Bryce. Chet then defies the trope by explaining why he helps, and Bryce feels that he doesn't deserve that bonding anyway.
  • Cool Old Guy: Bryce's grandfather, Chet Duncan.
  • Courtly Love: Bryce and Julie never even kiss although they are only in eighth grade when the story ends.
  • Daddy's Girl: Though she's close with both parents, Juli's interactions with her dad peg her as this
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bryce, in both the film and the book.
  • Dirty Coward: Juli thinks that Bryce is this after he laughs with Garret about how Juli's family may have bad genes. Chet also thinks Bryce acts this way, though he's a bit gentler about expressing it.
  • Disposable Fiancée: Chet had one, but he broke off the engagement because he realized there was nothing beneath her beautiful exterior.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Juli says this to Chet when he starts to help her with yard cleanup; she initially thinks that the Loskis sent Chet over to help because of Bryce throwing away her eggs. He's taken aback, since he didn't know, and then explains that he came to help her because Juli reminded him of his late one.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title refers to the Unrequited Love Switcheroo between Juli and Bryce, but also to how the feelings of each of them for the other make them feel, and to Bryce's Perspective Flip.
    Juli: The first time I saw Bryce Loski, I flipped.
    Bryce: (acknowledging his crush on Juli) Garrett was right. I had flipped.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked when Mr. Loski makes a nasty joke about disabilities running in the Bakers' family, especially more when his son could have suffered the same fate at birth due to the umbilical cord strangling him. Bryce becomes regretful when he doesn't do the same with Garret making an identical joke and Juli calls him out for it.
  • Easily Forgiven: Mrs. Loski forgives Bryce for throwing away Juli's eggs for years and insulting her yard when he confesses and promises that he has "learned his lesson". This doesn't get him out of the family dinner with the Bakers, however, and convinces her further that it must happen.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Bryce isn't bad per se, but confessing to his mother about what he did with Juli's eggs and bad-mouthing Juli's yard starts his Character Development. He confesses because his mother decides to invite the Bakers over for dinner to get to know them better, and he knows the eggs could come back to haunt him; on thinking of sabotaging the dinner, he asks himself, "What kind of a wimp am I?"
  • Exiled to the Couch: What happens to Mr. Loski after he makes cutting remarks about the Bakers being "trash" and about caring for a disabled family member, after his own son nearly suffered the same fate due to the umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck twice at birth.
  • First Kiss: Juli is convinced that Bryce is carrying her first kiss. Bryce would beg to differ...then attempts to give her exactly what she wants near the end.
  • First-Person Smartass: Bryce in the book.
  • Foil: The Dysfunctional Family of the Loskis and the Quirky Household of the Bakers. Especially the fathers.
  • Friendless Background: Juli doesn’t have any close friends, but later chapters show her to be on good terms with fellow classmate Darla Tressler, implying a new friendship.
  • Friend to All Children: Chet comes off this way.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Juli acts this way towards Bryce after he apologizes for throwing away Juli's eggs and for laughing with Garret about her uncle being disabled. This makes him feel worse than the period in which she hated him following him saying her eggs probably had salmonella because she stops acknowledging he exists.
  • Freudian Excuse: During the awkward family dinner, it's implied that Bryce's father is so mean-spirited in part because he feels trapped in his role as a suburban bread-winner and that he regrets having given up his early dreams as a saxophone player in a band.
  • From Bad to Worse: Juli describes things going this way after the sycamore tree is chopped down. Her dog died, she found out about Bryce throwing away her eggs, and then she finds out about her uncle David.
  • Genki Girl: Arguably, Juli during a couple of scenes in their second grade. By the time the main story starts she's grown up and has become less of this trope.
  • Girl Next Door: Juli is such a friendly neighbor that she regularly gives Bryce her chicken's eggs for his family.
  • Good Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Baker, Juli's parents. They have only one fight during the book, during which they make up at night and reassure Juli that they are okay. Said fight in question started after Juli asked why their yard was a mess, and it motivates Juli to start cleaning up the yard.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Juli is like this about Shelly and Bryce, but it's mainly Played for Laughs. Then Played for Drama, with Age-Appropriate Angst, when Bryce sees her win Jon at the Bachelor Auction and tries to kiss her. Juli is naturally furious that Bryce spoiled her good time with Jon, where she was just being nice to the latter, and also that as she puts it, he only shows interest when she's moved on.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Because the older you get, the more exposed to get to cruelty either from your neighbors — like Juli— or your family— like Bryce, and your words and actions carry far more consequences.
  • Hard Truth Aesop:
    • It doesn't matter if someone was Innocently Insensitive with No Social Skills; you are still responsible for any cruelty you inflict on them in turn. While Bryce is correct to call out Juli for her Stalker with a Crush attitude, he also knows that's no excuse for throwing away her eggs for two years and insulting Juli's lawn when she catches him. Chet says as much to Bryce, that he has to stop reacting like a coward and start acting.
    • There's some truth to the old adage of "there's more to others than what meets the eye." Sometimes this leads to Hidden Depths, but sometimes it means that there's nothing good underneath a person's surface. Sometimes there's nothing under a person's surface at all.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Juli and her brothers are the proud owners of a mutt named Champ.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: Bryce uses a few excuses like this with Juli.
  • Jerkass:
    • Bryce's father, Rick is a petty jerk completely caught up with surface appearances.
    • Bryce's friend Garrett, who has no problems betraying Bryce, or ditching him when he becomes a social pariah. Not surprisingly, Garrett and Bryce's father ended up shaping Bryce's views on Juli, which is why he's initially so cold towards her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Bryce's sister Lynetta notes that their so-called happy family "is a joke" and calls out their father for being unnecessarily nasty to Juli's family.
  • Jerkass Realization: Bryce gets this about himself about the eggs, as well as when he laughs with Garret about Juli's uncle. He also realizes that his father is not the nicest person, which is a shocking thing to see.
    • His mother and sister also follow suit, with his mother at the end of the story contemplating a divorce.
  • Kick the Dog: It seems to run in the family with the Loskis.
    • Rick/Steven Loski makes many cutting remarks about Juli's family, calling them "trash" and saying that Juli's older brothers are obviously drug dealers. When Lynetta calls him out for this and calls him an asshole, he slaps her across the face.
    • Garret laughs about Juli's uncle being disabled and thinking it has to do with genes.
    • Bryce's exact moment of this comes when he justifies throwing away Juli's eggs because her unkempt yard may contain salmonella. By the time he realizes what he has said, Juli's no longer speaking to him and his grandfather is helping clean up her yard.
  • Kid-anova: Played with. Bryce has lots of girl's pining after him and he's very aware of it. He's also more or less completely uninterested, and only uses Shelly/Sherry to keep Juli at bay.
    • Also justified, at least within the film, where we see that Bryce is in very good shape for a teenager, and is a known sports player in school, along with being cleancut and good-looking.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Subverted; Mr. Loski's inability to keep his cruel remarks to himself or to poke Chet ends up causing Broken Pedestal for Bryce and a looming divorce in the future.
  • Like Father, Like Son: After hearing that Mrs. Loski is contemplating divorcing her husband, Juli becomes more determined to not talk to Bryce following his attempt to kiss her because she doesn't want to end up like Mrs. Loski. Bryce has this obstacle to overcome.
  • List of Transgressions: Juli lists them to her mother after Bryce tries to kiss her: not only did he throw away her eggs and make fun of their yard, but he also laughed at her uncle being disabled (though unintentionally) and as far as she knows has never stood up for her.
  • Literally Loving Thy Neighbor: Bryce moves in right across the street from Juli. She sees him and decides that he's walking around with her first kiss.
  • Love at First Sight: For Juli anyway. Then gradually deconstructed over time. Chet even discusses the problems with this trope.
  • Maybe Ever After: At the very end of the book, Juli following a whirlwind emotional rollercoaster due to trying to get over Bryce since she thinks he's a Dirty Coward only for him to try and kiss her and then plant a new sycamore tree decides to go thank him and talk to him.
  • Must Make Amends: Bryce by the end of the book following his attempt to kiss Julie, and deciding he needs to show Juli that there is more to him. He decides to plant a sycamore sapling in her yard, to replace the one that was cut down.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bryce gets this after the eggs incident, and an Oh, Crap! moment when his grandfather finds out. Fortunately Chet doesn't out him.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Mr. Loski doesn't see what's wrong with his rather narrow-minded view of Juli's family, and feels put upon when his wife calls him out on it.
    • Bryce had a moment of this when Juli caught him throwing away the eggs that she was giving to him for free, which were most of the eggs that her chickens were producing. He tells her that her yard is not sanitary as an excuse. He gets a My God, What Have I Done? moment afterward, when Juli stops speaking to him and starts cleaning up her yard with fervent energy, which becomes an Oh, Crap! moment when his grandfather starts helping her.
  • No Social Skills: Juli early on, what with barging into the Loskis' moving van, following Bryce everywhere, ambushing him at school, and sniffing his hair in class, the girl does not have the best grasp on social niceties.
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    • Mr. Loski when his wife insists on having a neighborly dinner with the Bakers claims that it's not going to change the family, that they're just "trash".
    • So Bryce following the eggs fiasco starts to realize there is more to Juli than meets the eye, especially after rereading the news article about her attempt to save the sycamore tree. He then reveals to Garret that he knows Juli's uncle is diabled, and Garret insults Juli, and then tries to kiss Juli at the Basket Boy luncheon when sounding like a Green-Eyed Monster.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Juli's parents have managed to keep Uncle David in a private facility for years. They also are still Good Parents and manage the stress without too much trouble.
    • Following the argument where Chet angrily explains that the Baker's have to support Uncle David's upkeep, and that he became disabled due to a random accident at birth, Chet then takes Bryce out for a walk to keep him away from the Loski parents' meltdown. By the time the meltdown is over, Mr. Loski is sleeping on the couch.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Mr. Loski doesn't know when to keep his catty remarks to himself, even when his wife has a mean Death Glare.
  • Outdoorsy Gal: Juli loves climbing her favorite tree, will raise chickens and will tame her yard.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A case of You Didn't Ask!. What starts breaking Juli's rose-colored view of Bryce is when she catches him throwing away her eggs, and realizing he's been doing it for two years. If he had just told her to stop delivering them, instead of tossing them in secret, she would have because she could've used the money.
  • Puppy Love: The basic premise.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Played with. The events in the movie and book are shown from the perspectives of both Bryce and Juli. Their perspectives are different, especially at the start, but otherwise accurate.
  • Replacement Goldfish: As part of his Must Make Amends, Bryce plants a sycamore sapling in Juli's yard, to replace the old one that got chopped down.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Subverted. Bryce comes off this way from the perspective of Juli's parents and friends. In reality, he's got lots of depth; he just also happens to be a raging Stepford Smiler and is deliberately repressing it. Just as she's finally giving up on him, he starts to show it...
    • Also played straight. After getting over her pining for Bryce, Juli actually comes to learn that she really knows little to nothing about Bryce as the two never had a real conversation. It wasn't until Bryce attempted to make amends for his previous callousness that the two actually started to bond.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Bryce and Julie, with the addendum that Bryce is pretty messed up.
  • Shipper on Deck: It's implied that Mrs. Baker is this for Bryce and Juli. In Juli's last POV chapter, Mrs. Baker encourages Juli to listen to what Bryce has to say, even after she explained his attempt to kiss her at the Basket Boy auction. She also privately tells Bryce to give Juli more time before reaching out to her as opposed to telling him to leave Juli alone.
  • Stepford Smiler: Bryce. He's obsessed with blending at school, making sure that no one realizes how bad the situation at home is, and remaining completely under the radar, all while covering how badly repressed he is. An interesting variation as he looks like a Type B to the outside world, but is actually far more of a Type A. There's a lot going on there; he just doesn't like to show it.
  • Stepford Snarker: Towards other people, Bryce is a Type A Stepford Smiler. Towards the audience he's this, covering up his insecurities with sarcasm.
  • Stalking Is Love: Juli's following of Bryce is never portrayed as anything other than cute; then again, she was in the second grade.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Juli acts a lot like one early on. She later starts to grow out of it; unfortunately, Bryce still remembers her this way.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Juli loves Bryce first but then starts to fall out of love just as Bryce realizes that he is in love with her.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Bryce's father, Steven Loski. It's so bad that the Bakers can see what a phony he is but have the tact to not comment on it during the awkward family dinner.
  • Verbed Title
  • Visual Pun: The film version uses vertical flips between Bryce and Juli's scenes at least once.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: What Juli was first attracted to in Bryce.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Juli asks herself this about Bryce following her conversation about Chet breaking off an engagement with a Disposable Fiancée, and she realizes that she's only been infatuated with Bryce's looks. She doesn't know a thing about him, and thus decides to no longer nurture her crush following his List of Transgressions. At the end of the story, when Bryce shows he's changed by planting a sycamore tree in her yard, she decides that she'll talk to him to see what kind of person he is.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Juli and Bryce call out each other for their actions, Juli for being a Stalker with a Crush, and Bryce for not telling her about the eggs, for laughing with Garret about her uncle, and then for trying to kiss her because she had chosen another boy at the auction mentioned above.
    • Chet gives a rather gentle bit of advice to Bryce about what happened with the eggs, after not revealing at the dinner table that Bryce had been throwing them away. He tells Bryce that the choices that you make early in life will affect your character, and Bryce needs to think about what person he wants to be.


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