Friday, March 12, 2021

Book Review: The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle


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'

Post a Comment