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HaBO: Flipping, Not Hopping the POV

Bitchery reader Tammie is searching for a style of book I’ve never seen. I remember the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, and the utter annoyance I found them as a reader, but this one? I’ve never seen one. Have you?

Back in the mid to late 80’s I read these YA romances that were two stories in one—you would read one character’s version of their shared story and then flip the book over and upside down to read the story from another point of view.  These books were popular around the same time as the “make your own romance” books.  Does anyone have any ideas for how I might find these books again?

Considering how much I’m reading and writing about heroine/hero identification and placeholding and yadda yadda, I wonder if one side of the book would get more wear than the other, if the story were told in one half from the heroine’s perspective and in the other from the hero’s.


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  1. 1
    JaimeK says:

    You know I read these as a teen – I lived in Germany and the Stars & Stripes bookstore carried specific types and very few books – I loved them.  I have no idea how to find them.  I do remember I thought it was interesting to “hear” the story from the guys point of view.  Good luck – I will do a search and if I find them I will post.

  2. 2
    spidervet says:

    I don’t know if you’ve read Being Elizabeth Bennett: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure, by Emma Campbell Webster, but it sounds like a more modern version of the books you’re talking about. It starts off as Pride and Prejudice, turns into a Jane Austen mashup and finishes as P & P again. It’s exactly like one of the old choose-your-own-adventure books, except you learn French or cover screens to pick up experience points rather than battling monsters. My favourite alternate ending is the one where Miss Bingley runs you down in her carriage for having the audacity to fall in love with Darcy, then reverses repeatedly over your mangled, twitching corpse.
    Good times. :D

  3. 3
    ksquard says:

    I remember these from my teenage years too; I’m often reminded of them when an author changes from first person to third within a novel, like Diana Gabaldon’s later novels in the Outlander series. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to find them – I haven’t seen them in decades and boy does that date me – but will keep an eye out.

  4. 4
    DS says:

    Being Elizabeth Bennett: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure
    sounds like one of those great text adventure games from Infocom.  Multi media kind of doomed them but The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Leather Goddesses of Phobos were great fun- and I died many times but was never once run over by a carriage.

  5. 5

    I never read the flip books, but I hear that Stephanie Meyer is going to be re-writing Twilight from Edward’s POV.

    Now with more stalker fun!

  6. 6
    Laurel says:

    I’ve heard them called reversible books.  I did a little googling and found Cinderella/Cinderella: The Untold Story
    by Russell Shorto – one side tells the Cinderella story and the other the same story from the POV of on of her stepsisters.

  7. 7
    acacia says:

    I totally remember reading one of those flip books about the characters from Ghostwriter. One side was Alex and the other side was whatever Alex’s sister’s name was. You had to read both stories to be able to solve the mystery.

  8. 8
    SonomaLass says:

    On my Kid Lit shelf I have a book called Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen.  It’s about 8th-graders and their first kiss, with alternating chapters from the boy’s and girl’s POV.  The back cover features their two POVs alternating, in different colors, and you have to flip the book over to read hers.  But that’s only the cover; inside the alternating chapters are all the same way up.  I remember buying this for my daughter and being disappointed that you didn’t have to flip it over to read it.

  9. 9
    Anna says:

    They were definitely YA romance/flip books, but I’m not sure how to track them down.  I only read one, but it left an impression.  Why do I even 20-some years later vividly remember long, curly red hair and purple leg warmers?  Aww… the power of fiction!

  10. 10
    SB Sarah says:

    Who wouldn’t relish the opportunity to remember red curly hair and purple leg warmers? I mean, that’s just full of excellent.

  11. 11
    AmandaG says:

    I remember those.  I had a YA romance that was her POV on one side and his POV on the other.  You actually flipped it over to read the other story, and I think it even had actual different covers on the front and back. I bought it at the Scholastic book fair in middle school, and the hero was an exchange student from England.

    One of the members of my local RWA group is writing a choose your own adventure novel and says there is a resurgence of interest in them.

    I have no idea where you would look for them, though.

  12. 12
    cecilia says:

    I remember those – weren’t they a gimmick/offshoot of Sweet Dreams books? Maybe Wildfire?

  13. 13
    orangehands says:

    I can’t think of any from the 80s (not being alive for most of them), but was going to mention Flipped as the only one I could think of.

    Though, is Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan a flip book? (Haven’t read that yet, as I’m not that big on Cohen, though I love David’s Boy Meets Boy…must try it soon). Anyways, anyone know?

  14. 14
    TracyS says:

    I remember reading these!! You read her side of the story (in first person) then you flipped the book over and read his side (again, first person). After reading the whole book you got the complete picture of what happened.

    I cannot for the life of me find anything by googling this.

  15. 15
    Tae says:

    I also remember reading these, not many, but they exist.  I don’t remember any titles though.

  16. 16
    CC says:

    I loved these- being painfully shy it was an innocent way for me to see what guys were thinking- now I know those hot teen guys were usually written by middle age women, but then,  it was reassuring to see they were also confused

  17. 17
    Cora Zane says:

    OMG. Follow Your Heart books. I remember these. I had a few that I picked up from the school book fair. It’s about all they had by way of romance back in the day.

    Here’s one on Amazon:

  18. 18
    shaina says:

    the flip book things sound interesting, but i just have to say i always HATED choose your own adventure books! if i want a story, i want a story. if i wanted to make one up, i’d make one up. grah.

  19. 19
    Stephanie says:

    Gabi—Alex on Ghostwriter’s sister was named Gabriella, called Gabi.

    (My only contribution to the discussion.)

  20. 20
  21. 21
    EmmyS says:

    I remember reading these! I used to save my money for a monthly trip to Crown Books or Krochs and Brentanos (way before Borders and Amazon!) and get all the new Sweet Dreams books. I was so excited when these flip books came out, since I loved choose your own adventure books (I still have a few from childhood.)

    @orangehands: Nick and Norah is not a flipbook – it’s written in alternate chapters (chapter 1 is Nick, chapter 2 is Norah.) I read it after seeing it reviewed here a while back, and would highly recommend it. I just finished the second book by the same author team (Naomi and Ely’s No-Kiss List.) Also really good. The writing is fantastic – I’m far from a teenager, but these books don’t make me feel like a perv for reading YA fiction.

  22. 22
    Amy says:

    I went and looked up “Follow Your Heart” as a keyword on and found a couple of sellers with them, including some cover shots to see if that jogs your memory.

    (get72—but I haven’t seen any numbered higher than 8!)

  23. 23
    Leila says:

    Another semi-recent flip book is Brent Hartinger’s Split Screen—it’s from the perspective of best friends, which is a little bit different, but there are plenty of romantic hijinks and of course, the he-said/she-said:

  24. 24
    laura says:

    I have fond memories of this genre.  In particular, the book is called “Strut” by Bruce Hart.  My sis and I had to wrack our brains for this, but we still have it somewhere in boxes in the ‘rents house.

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