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No less than ten sixth graders told me to drop what I was reading and pick up Bubble; and like a good librarian, I do what I’m told. Bubble tells the story of eleven year old Joe, who was born with a severe form of SCID and has never been able to leave his custom-made hospital room. In case his luck wasn’t bad enough, Joe’s parents died in a car accident while coming to visit him in the hospital, so now he’s an orphan, with a sister who has to split her life between his hospital room and her medical school. His life has been the same every single day for as long as he can remember; wake up, see doctors, get tests, talk to SCID friends on laptop, watch movies, get tired, go to sleep. Until a new nurse starts working with him. Amir is not like any of Joe’s other nurses. He seems obsessed with getting Joe interested in the world outside his hospital room: he watches airplanes through the window, talks (way too fast) about aliens, and won’t let Joe keep floating complacently along. But there’s a reason that a child with SCID should stay focused on his tiny, safe world… because once he starts dreaming and scheming about getting out of it, things start to get dangerous, fast. Although the story didn’t feel like anything new (Everything, Everything, another SCID story, was the novel of the summer, after all), Bubble’s solid character development and appropriateness for younger readers mean it will be a hit with most YA-readers-in-training. It’s heartwarming and painful to watch Joe dream about a life beyond his bubble. A definite purchase for classrooms and libraries. #bookreview #empathy #bubble