Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Stewart Foster - The Bubble Boy - Book Review (Simon & Schuster)

They call it a crash when the blood goes from my head to my feet, pours out into the room and drains through a hole in the middle of the floor. They call it a crash when the walls start spinning and the pictures blur. Then the ceiling turns black and the floor turns black and I don't know which way I'm facing any more.

Eleven-year-old Joe can't remember a life outside of his hospital room, with its beeping machines and view of London's rooftops. His condition means he's not allowed outside, not even for a moment, and his few visitors risk bringing life-threatening germs inside his 'bubble'. But then someone new enters his world and changes it for ever.

THE BUBBLE BOY is the story of how Joe spends his days, copes with his loneliness and frustrations, and looks - with superhero-syle bravery, curiosity and hope - to a future without limits. Expect superheroes, super nurses and a few tears from this truly unique story.

If you're going to blow bubbles today, then it would be best for you to do it before you read this book. Behind the bold sky blue cover, there is a fantastic story waiting for every reader to discover. So blow some superhero bubbles for Joe and get ready to ride a fantastically inspirational story that you will want to visit again and again. This book will make you think who the real superheroes are, and it's not the ones who wear capes, have superpowers or fight bad guys in Marvel or DC comics. No, it's people like Joe, who have to fight an everyday battle but they do so with a smile on their face, and hope in their hearts. 

All Joe wants is to be normal, but his condition means that he's not allowed outside, not even for a moment. Even the few visitors that he is allowed, risk bringing life-threatening germs inside his "bubble" - otherwise known as the hospital bedroom. He faces life with courage and curiosity. He has never been outside of his hospital bubble, but he is fearless and really inspirational. He has science lessons on his computer, laughs and jokes with his friend via Skype and watches films with his sister. He wants to be normal, but he never will be unless they can find a cure.

Joe's life soon changes when someone new enters his world and the story elevates slowly like a bubble rising into the big blue sky. Opportunities that he had previously dreamt of might now be possible, but will it be worth the risk? You will need to read the book to find out and I hope you do, as it will change your outlook on life for sure!

I loved every single minute of this book. One of my favourite parts (without spoiling it) is the introduction to the mysterious character, Amir. He is so brilliantly written, and yet, he only made the story by a chance encounter. A tormented stranger came to sit next to Stewart on a park bench, whilst he was eating his lunch in Soho Square, and made a big impression on him. I'm sure that he will leave an even bigger impression on you after reading this story. Amir is the little golden nugget that sealed the narrative together; he's the little ray of sunshine that pushed Joe through the swirling thick clouds of fog and towards a life of hope and possibilities.

It will be very hard to read this moving story without shedding a tear or two, so you'll need to get some tissues ready. In one breath it's very sad and might break your heart strings, but in the next breath it can be very up-lifting. It's an emotionally fuelled rollercoaster of events with a clever and unique narrative that will stay with you for sometime. So much so, that weeks after you have read it, you will still reflect on the journey you had with the characters and think fondly back to it. I understand that some readers might have an issue with some of the supporting characters, perhaps they could be described as being a little too bland and vague, but to me that did not matter. The story resonates very much in the heart and made me feel very fortunate to be able to do the things that 'normal' people can do, such as going out everyday and seeing the sunrise early or looking at the stars and the moon in the night sky. These are all the things Joe wanted to do and things that we often take for granted. 

This is a fantastic debut young read for the 10+ reading age. It really is one of my favourite books that I have read so far this year. Unfortunately, I loved this book so much that I got rather carried away and wrote this book review a little earlier than usual. Therefore, you will have to wait sometime before you are able to read it. Call it a reviewers curse, but I have just noticed that it is not published until May 2015 by Simon & Schuster, which is really rather a long time to wait. Please make a mental note to purchase a copy as I would highly recommend this book. 


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