Bubble by Stewart Foster

Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Summary:  11-year-old Joe has spent almost his whole life in a sterile London hospital room, suffering from a rare immunodeficiency that prevents him from going outside.  His only human contact is with medical personnel, his older sister Beth (their parents were killed in a car accident), and Henry, an American boy with a similar disease with whom he Skypes.  Henry is getting ready for a trip outside in a suit designed for him by NASA.  When Joe’s eccentric new nurse Amir suggests a plan to secretly get Joe outside, Joe is intrigued but scared at the prospect.  Both boys get their trips out, Henry in front of TV cameras and Joe secretly in the dead of night, but there are serious consequences for them both.  Despite all his difficulties, Joe manages to move from one day to the next with a remarkably optimistic view.  352 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  A moving story that has its moments of sadness but ultimately remains hopeful.  Despite his limited life, Joe is a typical kid in many ways, with his love of superheroes, video games, and football (British-style).  I would recommend this to fans of Wonder if it weren’t becoming such a cliche to do so with any book that packs an emotional punch.

Cons: Flashbacks to 1976.

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