Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Flip Side

Rate this book
Charlie Ryland has a secret.

She may seem like your average high school sophomore—but she’s just really good at pretending.

Because outside of school Charlie spends all her waking hours training to become one of the best gymnasts in the world. And it’s not easy flying under the radar when you’re aiming for Olympic gold…especially when an irresistible guy comes along and threatens to throw your whole world off balance.

309 pages, Hardcover

First published June 7, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Shawn Johnson

9 books104 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
438 (33%)
4 stars
436 (33%)
3 stars
329 (25%)
2 stars
80 (6%)
1 star
17 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 199 reviews
Profile Image for Taylor.
766 reviews424 followers
June 18, 2016
To be honest, I only bought this book because I really love Shawn Johnson.
I didn't expect this to an absolutely incredible book that would blow mind so I'm not really disappointed.
The Flip Side is pretty plain and basic. The writing and characters are fine. The plot is nice. But it's all really simple. There wasn't much to the characters and the plot was a little boring at times. It was a fun, cute read but not really memorable.
I feel like this would be a great book if you're a casual reader and not super critical (like me) when it comes to books.
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
510 reviews297 followers
May 19, 2016
Review posted on Fafa's Book Corner !

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


This book was recommended to me by my dear GR friend Lola ! Click on her name to read her review.

I had heard about this book through Lola's review. It sounded pretty good and I was in the mood for something light to read. I requested it on Netgalley and much to my delight (and surprise) I got it! Unfortunately I didn't enjoy this.

The book begins with Charlie day dreaming about a competition. Reality comes back when her teacher makes a comment on her lack of knowledge on the government. Much to her dismay the lesson she day dreamed in will be coming in the test.

Her best friend suggests they study together. But that weekend Charlie will be having a competition. She tells said friend that she'll be visiting her grandmothers and won't be able to meet her and study.

When Charlie first got into gymnastics it was easier. Her schedule was more flexible and she didn't have to worry about a thing. As she got older and enrolled into a different gymnastics course she started getting homeschooled. Charlie wanted a normal life. She wanted to go to high school and make friends. So her parents talked to the school and it was arranged. Charlie keeps her other life a secret so that they don't clash. She finds it overwhelming to balance the two. Which is why she lies to her best friend about her plans.

The only problem I had was the writing style. It wasn't so bad in the beginning but then it started to bother me. I actually wanted to reword some of the sentences. The plot in itself sounded interesting hence the two star.

Overall I did not like the writing style. But I still recommend it because it does sound interesting.
Profile Image for emi.
402 reviews1,064 followers
October 7, 2016
This is the second gymnastics YA book I've read within the past two months. It's a guilty pleasure of mine I guess. Whatever. I had fun reading this, but enjoyed the gymnastics element more than the romantic element. If you know of any more YA books that involve gymnastics please let me know. I want to read them all.
Profile Image for sil ♡ the book voyagers.
998 reviews2,383 followers
May 15, 2016
This is the cutest book I've read in a while and it's perfect for summer + if you're excited about the Olympics in August, this book will get you more excited.

If you are one of those that are waiting for the gymnastics part in the Olympics every four years, you'll love The Flip Side. It not only has the sweat and the tears and the passion of the girls before going into the Olympics, before finding out they are in the national team, it also has a cute ship (!!!! I'm still swooning about this), amazing friendships, fun times, supporting family and PROM!! If you are at the prom stages in your school life right now, you'll adore the feeling in the air of prom in this book.

Full review closer to release date.
Profile Image for Katie.
425 reviews61 followers
April 30, 2016
This book follows Charlie Ryland a 15 year old gymnast and Olympic hopeful who is living a double life. She tells nobody at her public school that she does gymnastics. Add in a boy, struggles in government class, a desire to go to the prom and Olympic Trials and you've got this book in a nutshell.

I am a self-proclaimed gym nerd. I did trampoline for a while. I've followed artistic religiously since Beijing and by that I mean I watch even the minor competitions if they're being streamed. I listen religiously to the gymcastic podcast. I once ran a Twitter dedicated to the Russian team. As a result if there's a fiction book about gymnastics I'll probably pick it up. I knew Shawn's book probably wasn't going to be great and honestly it pretty much lived up to my expectations - there were problems but it's a ya book about gymnastics so I still enjoyed it.

Clipped along a fair pace,
Great family (too often in ya we get absent parents),

Factually inaccurate book (You cannot compete at world championships until the year you turn 16, Charlie has won 2 world titles and is 15. I'll let you do the maths yourself. There are no national championships or classics before trials. The girls do not train 12 hours a day at national team camp. Etc)
Boring and somewhat irrelevant love interest,
Juvenile writing style,
Not enough focus on gymnastics,
Charlie's passion for the sport doesn't ever come across,
The premise is so unrealistic (yep I can't see anyone living a double life of that magnitude in high school).

All in all there are better ya books about gymnastics out there (2016 Trilogy by Lauren Hopkins and Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross) that I would pick up over this. If you're a Shawn Johnson fan or you just feel like a semi-amusing contemporary this is worth a go.

Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy.
Profile Image for Shane.
Author 28 books657 followers
July 7, 2016
Gymnastics is one of my favorite events in the Olympics aside from track and field. I liked Shawn Johnson's performance in 2008 and found her to be quite amazing, so when I learned she was releasing a YA novel that would incorporate her experience as an elite gymnast I knew I had to read it.

The Flip Side was a good debut. The story surrounded all things gymnastics, as expected. Charlie's character not only depicted what it was like to have gymnastics as the center of her life, but we also got a sense of how hard it is to be an athlete, how much work and dedication you have to give, and how it impacts your family. Charlie was one of the best in her sport, but with all the training and living and breathing gymnastics, she reached a point where she wanted one some speck of normalcy. Hence, why she convinced her parents to let her attend public school. But being an elite gymnast and an Olympic hopeful brings the kind of spotlight that not a lot of people want, and Charlie wanted to avoid that by keeping the athletic side of her a secret.

I totally understand why she would separate the two worlds. I mean, people can be fake and you never know who to trust or who wants to be seen with you in order to gain popularity. That was a justifiable reason to keep it all a secret, but I just didn't get why Charlie couldn't tell Zoe, her supposedly best friend. She lied to Zoe over and over and never even invited the girl to her house. It baffled me throughout the entire story because clearly Zoe was someone Charlie could trust, yet she kept an important part of her life from her friend. That was sad to me, and nothing Charlie said made it acceptable. Zoe was a great friend, and she didn't deserve being lied to. The same for Bobby.

Bobby was also a star athlete and the one person that could relate with Charlie the most. She could have told him everything and he'd understand, because he knew what it was like to have so much pressure and want more than anything to reach your goals. But she kept gymnastics from him as well. It just didn't make any sense to me why she carried on lying to him and Zoe. No sense at all. I mean you just knew things were bound to explode and people would be hurt.

Another thing I had an issue with was the descriptions about different moves while Charlie, Gwen or other gymnasts were practicing. Again, I love to watch gymnastics, but reading every detail about each technique and such isn't as entertaining. I couldn't visualize the scenes; it's better and more fun to watch.

Overall, a nice story with a few bits of drama and a young girl trying to balance her life. Fans of gymnastics and Shawn Johnson altogether will appreciate this release, and I hope she does write more books.
Profile Image for Brandi Kosiner .
995 reviews295 followers
March 31, 2016
3.5 stars (liked it a lot)
Review by Brandi Breathes Books

Source: Simon Teen via Edelwiess
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free.

I wanted to read The Flip Side because I enjoy gymnastics, and wanted to read a fictionalized account of olympic goals.

She was a fun character she's very interested in gymnastics and she's hoping to make the Olympic team. But she leads a life as Charlotte where she goes to school and she doesn't tell anyone that she is a gymnast and then she leaves the life of Charlie where she is learning next to Impossible moves and being in competitive meets and trying to get everything perfect so she gets a shot at her dream.

She wants to live somewhat of a normal life but you can tell that she's very torn because she has a best friend and both of her life setups and she can't even mention the other one to her Charlotte best friend because she doesn't tell her what she's doing. In some ways I can understand that she wants be a normal girl that she dreams of a boyfriend that she wants to do normal things. but she has the very intense desire and the skill for the gymnastics so she has to make herself realize that boys and parties would just be a distraction and it would prevent her from fully committing to the life of an elite gymnast.

it's hard when the inevitable blowup happens for her. She was sneaking around and doing some things she shouldn't have. she was interested in a boy and going behind her parents back. not only that it basically came out to the boy that she likes and her best friend at school that she been lying to them and they understandably took it very hard. on another hand I can see why she would want to tell everyone at school because everyone's all the sudden treating her different now that they know that she's famous and might make it to the Olympics. but the question remains with the people that she was closest to like Zoe and Bobby she could have put her trust in them and it hurt and it damaged the relationship. allies and going behind her parents also could have put an end to her dreams of the Olympic because she ended up hurting herself right before the trials.

I liked the ending and where it left off.

Bottom Line: Fun read.
Profile Image for Sparkleypenguin.
143 reviews19 followers
January 1, 2018
I did like this book at points. It was addictive in that YA cliche sort of "will they or won't they?". But other than that, it was full of the same old tropes that we all are used to seeing in these sorts of novels. The main love interest made me uncomfortable too like I totally thought that he was going to turn out to be a jerk but weirdly enough he was redeemable for some reason? At one point in the novel, when he and Charlie are stargazing out in the field, he goes "Hey, can I give you a nickname because Charlotte is too long of a name for me to say for some reason" and she's like "no" and he persists with that whole bit and I'm thinking "What the heck dude? Why are you insisting on this one small thing? Why don't you just leave it alone and just call the girl what she wants to be called and just leave it at that?". Also, the writing style was really wonky. It had turns of phrase that were awkward and uncomfortable to read. Overall, I would give this 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Jennifer Shanahan.
890 reviews12 followers
April 23, 2018
Super cute story! Quick read for me but I loved it!! I have loved gymnastics since I was a little girl so this book was perfect for me. Keep up the writing Shawn!!! Great story and loved the characters too!!
Profile Image for Katie.
2,628 reviews144 followers
October 7, 2016
This should really be marketed for kids, not teens. It just is very simple, like the Silver Blades books I read as a kid.

And I didn't have much sympathy at all for all the lies. And I get you're a kid, but if you really want to make the Olympics, boys can wait.
Profile Image for Megan.
541 reviews23 followers
June 12, 2020
A sweet, simple book that makes me think about good times when dreams were still a thing. Not a lot of depth to this story, but that added a touch of innocence.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,057 reviews16 followers
October 3, 2016
To see review with gif click here.

For those of you not in the know, Sean Johnson is a 2008 Olympic Gold medal gymnast who decided to write a YA book. Actually, it’s ghost written-but that should really be pretty obvious if you read through the title page.

Honestly, I think the only reason Sean Johnson’s name was put on the book was to sell it. If it would’ve been any other YA book, the book would’ve easily been a big fat failure. And it honestly was for me, but understanding that this book’s origins kind of made me a little bit more forgiving. I have read way, way, worse YA books with celebrities names thrown on it. It still wasn’t a good book though.

I think a part of my problem was, I was expecting that this book would have a lot to do with gymnastics in the vein of Tumbling. The gymnastics though, were more or less an afterthought which was sad. Because again, I read the books for the gymnastics. Instead, what I got was a watered down version of the first Princess Diaries book but without the royalty stuff. Instead, we get the very same protagonist has a secret that would get her a lot of publicity but tries to hide it by going to normal school.

Full disclosure, The Princess Diaries handles these plot devices in a much more compelling way. Even the movie, which was a watered down version of the book handled these themes in a much more compelling and relative way.

Here, I just felt like the book was being idiotic and almost had the-I’m With Stupid Feel to it. Because really there was no reason that anyone who was friends with Charlie (the main character) wouldn’t be able to figure out her secret. I mean, you’d think that Zoe-Charlie’s so called bestie-would’ve been a little bit more than suspicious with her behavior. And you know, being a gymnast that Charlie’s diet had to be ridiculously insane and you’d think that would be noticeable if not the muscles that girl obvious had too.

But details.

Probably what bothered me the most about this book was how phoned in it sounded. And while I expected as much, seeing how it was ghostwritten, it could’ve been so much more. And I guess that the fact that this book was packaged and obvious written as a profit was the only thing that saved it for a dismal rating . It was literally what I expected and that was sort of sad.

If you want a YA book about gymnastics I wouldn’t read this one. Gymnastics barely play a role in the book, it’s more or less about a teenager hiding a secret from her bestie and lame boyfriend who has the personality of cardboard. Oh, and there’s some lame incident where she’s hit by a roller bladder and she worries she might not be able to compete at the trials-spoiler alert, she’s okay.

Overall, I’d say if you want to more about gymnastics read Tumbling instead.
Profile Image for Cathy.
598 reviews12 followers
June 6, 2016
With the Olympics just around the corner, and my love for watching the Gymnastics portion of the Olympics I couldn’t help but want to read this book by retired gymnast Shawn Johnson. I couldn’t wait to see what her book was about and I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it from beginning to end. I felt everything her main character felt and I got excited for her all the way through. Shawn Johnson did a wonderful job writing this story about trying to balance two aspects of her life while trying to succeed in all her goals.

We meet Charlie/Charlotte the Olympic hopeful for Team USA in gymnastics who is trying to lead a normal life by going to high school and hiding what she really does from everyone there. Its tough being in high school to begin with throw in some Olympic trials and stuff just got even harder, but Charlie really wants that normalcy in her life. What is normal though? I think if she was honest in the beginning then she wouldn’t have had such a hard time from it but then again she would have many not real friends, those are not people you need in your lives. I enjoyed meeting her friends and living her high school life with her. I thought it was adorable the way her friend set her up without even knowing it. Those chance encounters they are the ones that will get you every time. Is it distracting? Maybe, but if anyone could handle it, Charlie could.

Meeting Bobby was a game changer in her personal life but not her Olympic goal version of herself. I thought their encounters were cute and adorable and I liked their relationship and impending doom when the truth of Charlie’s life really comes out. There were a lot of elements in this book that I could understand the main character going through. Again, life is tough, it’s how you deal with it that makes you the person you are and Charlie is a champion in this book. I enjoyed reading all the gymnastics terminology, I even went and googled some of them just to see what they could be.

Overall this was a great book, I actually liked the writing and the story. I would definitely pick up another book by Shawn Johnson. This is the perfect book to come out so close to the Olympics and it’s really an overall great quick and easy summer read that will make you want to google more about gymnastics if you didn’t know a little something about it to begin with. It put a smile on my face. It had fun elements, serious elements and showed how much if you really want something all you have to do is go for it.

I love the cover. It was absolutely adorable and eye catching and would definitely make me want to pick it up to read what it was about. Overall very fun.
3 reviews
April 20, 2018
Shawn Johnson has created an amazing story that many would love. This story brings you on a lifeline that some people may be going through or struggling with. There are many people that are star athletes and get treated differently because of this. This story brings you on a journey of a girl that tried to live a double life.
In The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson, you go on a journey with Charlie Ryland. Charlie is both an Olympic hopeful training gymnast, but also a regular girl. She keeps the gymnast side a secret while at school. Charlie knows that if it gets out that she is a star gymnast and is training for the Olympics that people will treat her differently at school and she doesn’t really want that. She wants to live the life of a normal high school girl, but that's pretty hard to do when you spend hours on end in the gym. No one at school but her brother knows that she is a gymnast, not even her best friend. One day, her best friend finds a guy that she really likes, and she sets Charlie up with his best friend. This boy throws everything about Charlie off and she has to try and find a way to keep her life the way it has been.
I really liked this book, it was fun and entertaining. This story is good for anyone that likes realistic books with slight romance. This book is more about the struggles of trying to balance everything than the romance. If you enjoy gymnastics or ‘nerd’ like people, this is a perfect fit for you. Charlie is a slight ‘nerd’ when she is at school because of how she acts so most people don’t notice her.
Profile Image for Haley S.
385 reviews
February 21, 2017
A gold and silver medalist writing a novel? Yup! Shawn Johnson is the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and team, all-around and floor exercise silver medalist! I couldn't believe it when I picked up this book. How cool is that? An Olympian writing an awesome novel!
Anyway, I am not here to talk about the author. The Flip Side is a great story.
Through Charlie's/Charlotte's ups and downs, I rooted her on, and she didn't disappoint me. I was at the edge of my seat, even though this wasn't a suspense novel, waiting to see what she would do next.
I was also cheering for Bobby. I couldn't wait to see what would happen to him. Does Charlie ever like him back? Does she ever like him enough to tell him the truth about her 'two lives'? Those are just two of the questions I was asking myself as I read through this book.
The book cover is wonderful. That is what intrigued me to read this book. I just loved it! It pretty much explained the story in a nutshell. A girl who is a gymnast and a boy who is trying to find out who she 'really' is. It is perfect! This cover deserves five stars!
The book deserves four stars! I definitely really like it. If anyone were to ask me if I know of any good 'real life' teen novels, I would definitely recommend this book!

Title: The Flip Side
Author: Shawn Johnson
Author's Website: N/A

This review is written in my own opinions and words.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
497 reviews18 followers
February 9, 2017
A really sweet and simple story about teenager Charlie Ryland who lives a double life as both an average high-school student and an elite gymnast hoping to make the Olympic team. But with the Olympic trials coming up and the inevitability of her celebrity identity being outed, the lines between her normal life and her lifelong dream begin to blur.

I was particularly drawn to this because of 1) the adorable cover and 2) the fact that the 2016 Rio Olympics are over and I'm slightly empty inside. This is definitely your basic, contemporary YA book in its writing style, but the addition of the heroine being an elite gymnast made this a little more fun and very cute.

If there's anything to take away from this book, it's that there's nothing wrong with following your dreams and sacrificing normality to pursue them. But there's also nothing wrong with mundane living and wanting to be like everyone else. I've always thought the idea of living a double life was sort of silly and much more difficult than being yourself, but I get it. But I do believe that real friends would look beyond your 'celebrity' status. Maybe it's just because I sort of came to like Charlie, but I didn't appreciate how hard everyone was on her and how bossy some people were in her life. Ultimately, you have to want your dreams for you and no one else and so the decisions on the steps you take and choices you make will always be up to you.
Profile Image for Grace.
152 reviews17 followers
October 11, 2016
1.5 stars

Snooze. I skimmed about 40% of the book it was so boring.

I read the book because: 1) it was written by Shawn Johnson and I thought she’s a fun girl, so why not?, 2) the cover was cute, and 3) this was one of the books I wanted to read for my annual reading challenge. Unfortunately, all 3 were not good enough reasons: the cure for insomnia is.

The book was sooo boring -- the plotline was predictable and not compelling, the cover is cute but it did nothing for the story, so the only positive thing that came out of reading this book was one more item crossed off my list.

It’s about Charlie/Charlotte leading a double life, one in which her elite gymnast self separates from her school self. Her friends at school don’t know about Charlotte’s aspirations to make it to the Olympics, and while she tries to juggle both a normal life and the life of a star gymnast, she ends up keeping more secrets.

There’s supposedly romance in this story but that’s as interesting as watching grass grow.
Profile Image for T.J. Burns.
Author 83 books44 followers
October 30, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed The Flip Side.

It offered a unique perspective of a high-level athlete trying to get some of the typical teenager experiences without giving up on her extraordinarily lofty goals of becoming an Olympic athlete.

My favorite part was examining the contradictions between what Charlie says/acts and what she is actually thinking. Does putting on a public face come at the cost of losing herself?

I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Susan Bazzett-Griffith.
1,707 reviews43 followers
May 25, 2018
Very much a story geared towards kids/intermediate reading levels and not YA/teenagers, this is a very predictable, easy book about a high school sophomore who hides the fact that she's an elite gymnast from her friends at school. There is a plotline about a boy she likes and going to the prom, but really, this is a very basic story. I wasn't at all impressed, but I was entertained-- I imagine little girls into gymnastics would like it, but probably not so much anyone else at all. just 2 stars.
Profile Image for Kleon.
82 reviews12 followers
September 9, 2017
Historia normalita desaprovechada.
La parte de gimnasia es prácticamente inexistente y la prota parece que sólo se dedica a hacer un elemento en todo el libro, de ahí que tenga mis serias dudas de que la autora haya invertido algo en este libro más allá de una revisión.
Todo ese normal hasta que en cierto punto todo se vuelve inverosímil y directamente estupido, ahí fue cuando la historia calló en picado. Pero obviamente todo acaba súper bien de la nada.
Profile Image for Kim Zwart.
92 reviews6 followers
May 5, 2017
3,5 stars.
Het deed me erg veel denken aan Hannah Montana met happy ending en alles, maar als turnfan toch heel erg leuk om te lezen! :-)
Profile Image for Sofie Hook.
63 reviews
February 23, 2018
I've read this book once before and it's one of those books that has so much drama that it "should" be dumb, but it's honestly addicting!!! good read:)
2 reviews
February 5, 2018
I really loved this book, because although she did have her name as charlie Ryland in this book. It was still really cool to get to know her really story of her life and how she went to the Olympics.
Profile Image for Lindsey.
1,028 reviews
April 27, 2018
I love anything that has to do with gymnastics. This was so fun to read. I was rooting for Charlie every second. Get it, girl!
1 review2 followers
September 11, 2017
The Flipside by Shawn Johnson was published in 2016 about a girl named Charlie Ryland. The book is about Charlie, who is a really good gymnast who is trying to go to the olympics. The catch is that she lives basically two different lives. She is a sophomore in high school and she doesn't want people to like her just because she’s famous. So, in school she goes by the name of Charlotte. Charlotte is not popular at all, most people don't even know who she is but that’s how she wants it to be. Even her best friend at school, Zoe, doesn't know who she really is.

I really enjoyed this book because it always had me thinking. When Zoe tries to set her up with a boy, Charlotte starts to get dragged into many different conflicts. She starts wanting to go to prom with this boy, Bobby. While her friend at the gym, Gwen is focusing on gymnastics only, Charlie starts getting more and more involved in school stuff like prom and boys. In my opinion, Charlie should have stayed focused on her main goal; going to the olympics. There were so many instances in the book where I wanted to be able to talk to Charlie and warn her. For example, “No! Don’t go to prom in high heels at a roller rink! You might hurt your weak ankle!” I know the writer is doing a good job when I feel like I want to be in the book with the characters.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was how it was really relatable. The conflicts in the book were not to extreme or fantasized, I felt like they were problems that real teenagers could have. For example, Charlie was having trouble picking and choosing what she wanted to accomplish or what her dreams were. I think everyone goes through a phase like that and I thought it was nice to see that in this book.

Another thing unique to this book was that Shawn Johnson writing about her own personal experiences. Shawn Johnson was in the olympics at age 16 and she knew all the ups and downs that came with that. She knew exactly how to write about this topic which was part of what made it so desirable. When you have an author who is picking a topic they want to write about but not based on anything, you get a good book. But, when you have an author who is writing about something that happened to them of even something they are so passionate about, you get a much better story. Those authors know how to narrate the stories well and which parts to include to add up to the climax. I would like to think that this was a big reason I just couldn't put this book down!

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to a wide range of people. Anyone looking for a romance, realistic fiction novel or a novel about perseverance would be into this. All teens should read this for a glimpse at what it is like to never give up and try your hardest. The Flipside is such an inspiring book, I don't think there would be one person I couldn't recommend it to.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 199 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.