Monday, October 26, 2015

The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle

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By day, Charlie Han is a regular kid who despite his best efforts is rather clumsy. By night he is a delivery boy for his parents' Chinese takeout restaurant. He does have one secret however; and considering that his mom is a helicopter parent like no other (he's fourteen years old and there's still a baby gate at the top of his stairs) this secret could land him in big trouble- Charlie Han loves to skateboard and is actually quite good at it.

There is something else going on however. Charlie's mom is getting increasingly tired and Charlie suspects that it may be because those night classes that she signs up for may not be classes after all. What he finds out however may be more than he can handle.

Every family has secrets and skeletons in the closet but of course some are more serious than others. Secrets in and of themselves aren't bad but usually people are more annoyed that they haven't been told things. Charlie falls into this category and he must learn how to cope.

Coming of age novels can sometimes be very dark and heavy reading. Earle gets around this by starting off the book very lightly. I almost thought it would be one of the books with lots of shenanigans and cheap guffaws throughout and yes there are light moments but Charlies life definitely changes irrevocably by the novels end.

This book was written in England and has two covers, one for overseas and one for North America. I was amused when I saw the blue cover as it actually had a boy wrapped in bubble wrap. This book would be appropriate for ages 11+ as I think children of that age would be able to make sense of the many complicated emotions Charlie experiences and his evolving relationship with his parents and in particular with his mother.

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