Walking through Central Park one warm spring afternoon, high school student Kevin spots a guy bouncing and flipping from boulder to boulder, tree to the ground. Impressed with someone so adept at parkour, Kevin watches and quickly notices how hot the young man is. As the weeks go by, Kevin finds himself drawn back to the park where he surreptitiously watches P.G. (Parkour Guy) and tries to gather his courage to approach him. Imagine Kevin’s surprise when P.G. introduces himself, shows Keving some moves, and admits that he finds Kevin’s lanky frame and red hair appealing.
A week after finally meeting, Kevin and Shin plan their fist date, which begins with meeting Shin’s parents, followed by a concert. Shin’s parents have a less than favourable reaction to Kevin and Shin’s father leaves the room. It turns out that Shin being gay is not an issue, but him dating a white boy is. Shin’s parent continue to pressure him to break up with Kevin and Shin’s ex, Quan, is circling like a shark who scented blood in the water.
Adding to the stress is the fact that Shin has left home in protest of his parent’s desire for him to break up with Kevin, and is keeping Kevin in the dark, making Kevin wonder what else Shin is keeping to himself. The pressure becomes too much and, as a result, Kevin breaks up with Shin. Now both boys are miserable, but don’t know how to fix the situation.
Flipping for Him was a cute story and what appears to be the first instalment as the ending left me hanging, wondering “what next?”. This should not come as a surprise considering Adams has written the Hat Trick series, but since there was no mention of a second book, I figured that Flipping for Him was a standalone novel.
I found myself quickly and easily drawn into the lives of Kevin and Shin, appreciating the nervousness and difficulty a teen would have approaching someone of interest and I felt that Adams dealt with this aspect of the relationship well. Both Kevin and Shin were extremely likable characters, but I found that their lives were not fleshed out enough for my liking. There just wasn’t enough interaction with Kevin’s family to make me feel significant depth of character. The few secondary characters were suitably addressed and did their part well, acting as support when things were rough and almost never taking over the limelight.
So I said “almost never” just a moment ago, well here is why: a secondary character, Quan, who went out with Shin for a brief time keeps popping up where he has no business, like the grocery store, for instance. I did not seem feasible that the guys would run into Quan here, there, and everywhere, but like a bad penny, Quan just keeps showing up and it starts to feel contrived.
I was happy with how the story progressed in terms of the flow until near the end. The events suddenly sped up and there were a series of jumps (no pun intended) from Kevin’s encounter with Quan in the grocery store, to a dinner invitation at Shin’s, and I felt that all the loose ends were just conveniently wrapped up leaving me feeling like I missed something regarding the charter’s motivations. If felt like all of the conflict was just resolved with a minimum of explanation. I also had a hard time reconciling the fact that Kevin and Shin were 16, as they both acted with more maturity that I see in 20-year olds.
I am not saying that I did not like Flipping for Him. I just found that the antagonists were a little two-dimensional, and the resolution was wrapped up in a pretty little box with a pretty little bow with virtually no lead up. However, if you are looking for a “clean” YA read that addresses cultural differences, and has virtually no angst, this the book for you.