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Author: Foster, Stewart
Orphaned eleven-year-old Joe lives in a hospital due to his autoimmune disease, interacting only with his sister, an American boy with the same illness, and medical staff while dreaming of being a superhero.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.60
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 189607
Kirkus Reviews (03/01/17)
School Library Journal (03/01/17)
Booklist (+) (03/15/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2017 Gr 5–8—Eleven-year-old Joe Grant has lived in a sterile "bubble" within a London hospital since babyhood, afflicted with a rare genetic autoimmune disease. His sister Beth, a medical student, and the hospital staff are his only human contact, and he spends his time watching TV, reading on his iPad, taking lessons online, and communicating via computer with Henry, a boy with a similar condition who is quarantined in a Philadelphia hospital. Henry is anticipating a walk outside in a special suit developed by NASA, and Joe longs for the same opportunity. He keeps his spirits up by indulging in a superhero fantasy, imagining himself soaring through the city as Spider-Man. When a new night nurse, Amir, is assigned to him, Joe is at first put off by Amir's strange ideas—including his belief in alien beings from other planets—but he is soon won over when Amir offers him hope of a temporary escape from his confinement. Joe's first-person narrative details the minutiae of his condition and care and effectively conveys the monotony of his daily existence. His conflicting feelings of fear for his life and longing for adventure are poignantly depicted, and while some plot elements strain credibility, readers will empathize with Joe's situation and be drawn into the story. References to British sports and popular culture, though unfamiliar, make sense in context. VERDICT Presenting a difficult subject with hope, this is an accessible option for most middle grade readers and likely to spark discussion.—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/15/2017 *Starred Review* Eleven-year-old Joe Grant has no recollection of being outside of his specially monitored hospital room. A rare genetic disorder, severe combined immunodeficiency, keeps him within the same four walls because the smallest thing can kill him. Joe’s world revolves around monitor beeps and daily bruise checks in the shower, and the only people he sees are doctors, nurses, his Skype pal Henry, and Beth, his sister and only living family member. Though he’s a rabid fan of Arsenal Football Club and Spider-Man, Joe only has limited exposure to the outside world, via one window and technology—his TV, laptop, and phone. His imagination creates involved scenarios of what his life could be outside of the hospital, and when a new nurse, Amir, shows up, Joe’s life changes dramatically in ways he’d only dreamed of. Joe’s hopeful and unaffected voice gently reminds readers not to take even mundane things for granted and that he understands his lot in life even if he doesn’t fully accept it. Alternating between lighthearted and heart-wrenching scenes and emotions, Bubble’s star power lies in Joe himself. His uplifting relationships with Amir and Beth, who never lets the demands of medical school come between her and her brother, meaningfully unfold as Joe experiences the world from the inside looking out. A perfect pick for readers who loved R. J. Palacio’s Wonder (2012). - Copyright 2017 Booklist.