Title: The Bubble Wrap Boy
Series: -
Author: Phil Earle
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genres: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Contemporary, Family
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 13th 2015
Pages: 288

Synopsis (Goodreads): Charlie Han’s troubles are much bigger than he is. At school he’s branded an outsider, a loser—the tiny kid from the Chinese takeout. His only ally is Sinus Sedgely, a kid with a lower-level reputation than Charlie himself. Life at home isn’t much better. His dad is more skilled with a wok than he is with words, and his mom is suffocating the life out of Charlie, worried about his every move.

But when a new passion leads Charlie to the mother of all confrontations, he finds his real mom has been hiding a massive secret. A secret that while shocking, might actually lead Charlie to feeling ten feet tall.

Bubble Wrap Boy is a funny and inspiring novel about friendship, family, and one undersized boy's ability to think BIG.


My rating: 4 / 5 ★

This book has been on my shelf for years already, but I only picked it up to be read today thanks to my little sister randomly choosing it as my next read. I absolutely have no memories as to why I bought this book, but I liked the neon bright yellow of its cover, so I dived in without much comments. 

The book is about Charlie Han (who I suspected to be half-Chinese, but I can't really know because race isn't really an issue in this story, which is good in a way), who is rather lacking in his height, which caused him to constantly become the target of bullies in his school and neighbourhood. It didn't help that he is awkward and clumsy almost all the time, and only has a single "friend", Sinus—who happens to be an outcast as well. I had expected The Bubble Wrap Boy to be about how Charlie overcame these hurdles, and it is what I expected, but it turns out to be so much more as well. 

 The Bubble Wrap Boy is a story about a small boy with a big dream, and also about family love and finding the true meaning of friendship. I didn't like Charlie at first; the first chapter made him sound like someone that has a bitter outlook on his entire life. But Charlie himself said that he might sound bitter, but he wasn't, and the next chapters proved him right. It was easy to warm up to his character. Despite having an overprotective mother, a father that didn't offer much help to him when he pleaded for it, and a friend that sort of insulted every single part of his life, Charlie did not turn out to be a bad kid. All he wanted was to be able to do something that he loves and be good at it, without the overbearing observation of his mother.

When he finds out about skateboarding, he embraced it in no time. It caused more trouble than he needed: his mother was furious and doubled the overprotection, he drifted apart from Sinus, and he became the main subject of bully, earning the title Bubble Wrap Boy then. The way everyone bullied him made my heart broke for Charlie; he was just a boy who wanted to feel like he belonged, but everyone turned him into a joke. 

But that was the turning point for Charlie. When he finally learned the truth for the reason why his mother was too overprotective, Charlie started making plans to prove to her that he can do the things that he love without accidentally killing himself. His friendship with Sinus became stronger—it took me longer to warm up to Sinus' character because he was always sarcastic and I did not like that, but his loyalty to Charlie is strong and it was endearing to find out the things that he did for his friend. His plans did not run smoothly of course, but with his father's support and Sinus' constant encouragement, Charlie was finally able to prove himself to his mother. 

I love the bond that strengthened between Charlie and Sinus, and I love that no matter how angry Charlie was at his parents' lies, he was not rude to them and tried his best not to hurt any of them. I love how much Charlie loves to skate, and how much love he was able to pour to a family member that he just found out about. The Bubble Wrap Boy definitely highlights about the warmth of family love, the true meaning of friendship and the courage you need for the things and people that you love.

I'm actually glad I picked up this book to read!

P.S: The only problem that I had with this book might be why Charlie had to be a Chinese character though. The author is not Chinese himself, and there was not any Chinese culture included in the story, except for the fact that Charlie's family owns a Chinese food restaurant. Just something that I find a little bit iffy.


But it was in that ultimate moment of acceptance, I realized that, ironically, it didn't really matter what they thought. I knew what I was doing, and knew I was doing it well. If they wanted to come along for the ride, or slap me on the back afterward, then fine, but I didn't need their congratulations to know what I'd achieved.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Title: House of Hollow
Series: -
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Format: Paperback
Expected Publication Date: April 6th 2021
Pages: 320

Synopsis (Goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.

My rating: 8 / 5 ★

If I have to describe House of Hollow using two words, I'd say it's "beautiful" and "horrifying". To make it fancier, perhaps "ethereal" and "grotesque" would be perfect for it. The two words are opposite of each other, but yes, that's simply how this story turned out to be. The flow of the story was beautiful, it was so beautifully written, but the scenes that played out were terrifying and would bring chills to its readers.

House of Hollow follows the story of Iris Hollow, the last one of the three Hollow sisters. She had always known that the three of them were strange and different from everyone else, the event that happened during their childhood a solid proof of it. But when Grey and Vivi left their home to pursue their passions, Iris finally started to feel that she was just a normal girl. Alas, her desires to simply lead a normal life went tumbling down the drain when she started catching glimpses of a horned man following her in the shadows. She reunited with Vivi, but when the oldest of the Hollow sisters, Grey, went missing, Iris knew that something had gone terribly wrong.

"Terribly wrong" is probably a mild way to put it, because what Iris and Vivi—and Tyler, Grey's ex who happened to be dragged along—had to go through make someone's blood run cold. Not only they were chased by something inhuman, they had to deal with a bloody corpse and were thrown into doors that lead to the world of the non-living. I still shiver whenever I think of how white carrion flowers would bloom in their wounds and blood. I don't think I would be able to stomach it if I were a Hollow sister too.

The story was written and woven so beautifully, it was hard for me to stop flipping to the next pages despite the growing fears as everything started growing darker. One of my favourite quotes in the story is only in the second page of the book: "She was fourteen then, and already the most beautiful creature I could imagine. I wanted to peel the skin from her body and wear it draped over mine." I'm in love with these words, but these very words had a much crucial meaning in the later part of the story. My most memorable quote turned out to be revealing the true nature of the Hollow sisters and I was sickened by it.

Honestly, I have no words to describe how much I'm in love with House of Hollow. I could talk about it for days, and I still don't think I'd finish declaring my love towards it. I wish I can say more, but saying more would mean I'm risking spoiling something and I'd hate to do that. What I can assure is that, you are in for a very wild ride when reading this book. Whatever you may guess about the Hollow sisters, you may want to think again. They may be strangely beautiful, but they're also something you never want to mess around with.

For fantasy lovers that enjoy darker and more horrifying stories, this is the perfect book for you! I am 110% recommending this book to everyone—unless you're not comfortable reading things related to blood and gore at all. Thank you so much Pansing for sending me a copy of House of Hollow in exchange with my honest review. This book is set to be published on April 6th 2021, and you don't want to miss it!


There were waxy white flowers sprouting from his mouth, his nose, the softening remains of his eyeballs. Flowers growing rabid from the gash in his skin, their roots red-black with dead blood. Something moved at the back of his throat, behind his broken teeth. Something alive in the greenery.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'