by Abby Cooper
published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
July 3rd, 2017
Twelve-year-old Sophie Mulvaney's world has been turned upside down. Mom lost her job at the TV station and broke up with Pratik, whom Sophie adored. Her teacher is making them do a special project about risk-taking, so Sophie gets roped into doing a triathlon. And to top it all off, she's started seeing bubbles above people's heads that tell her what these people are thinking. Seeing other people's thoughts seems like it should be cool, but it's actually just stressful. What does it mean that Pratik wishes she and Mom were with him to eat dinner? Is her best friend Kaya really going out with their other best friend, Rafael, whom Sophie also has a crush on? And can Sophie's mom ever go back to her old self? In this funny, heartwarming novel, Sophie comes to learn that people are more than what they seem—or what they think.
My quick thoughts:
I remember going to the library as a middle grade reader and checking out book after book. I think I read a lot of fantasy back then but what I searched for were books that I saw myself within. Judy Blume books of course come to mind. But then I get stuck. Not many others stand out in my mind.
Middle grade readers want to be taken away to other places when they read, but they also want to see a mirror of who they are, the situations they visit on a day to day basis, a world that helps give them answers when they often can't find them.
In Abby Cooper's sophomore effort, I see middle graders finding pieces of themselves. These kids are looking for answers. When they don't know so much about themselves, much less about the world around them, wouldn't it be helpful to have answers right in front of them?
Our main character, Sophie, gets just that. She sees talk bubbles above the heads of the people around her. While that helps Sophie get some answers to what she is silently asking and wondering, she also gets answers she doesn't necessarily want to know. But thoughts are meant to be private and interpreted by the person who is thinking them. Does Sophie really know what people are thinking?
I think middle grade readers are going to relate to the characters in Bubbles and the situations they find themselves in. This is a book that will be relevant for years to come.
Be on the lookout for Bubbles in early July!