Review Detail

 
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0

Bubble Girl

This story is told in first-person present-tense entirely from the POV of Madeline, who is turning eighteen in the first chapter. Maddy has lived her entire life isolated in the protective confines of her home, thanks to a condition that’s left her without a functional immune system. She has a strong relationship with her doctor mother, and her full-time nurse, Carla, and is resigned to live more vicariously than actually. Until she meets the boy next door…

Simple, serviceable prose with restrained vocabulary. I sometimes forgot this wasn’t aimed at a Middle Grade audience. As some reviewers have noted, this feels like a deliberate diverging away from John Green’s famed work involving a dangerously ill teen—The Fault In Our Stars. It’s almost as though this is meant to be alternative reading for those who didn’t care for hyper-mature teenagers spouting existential literary quotes, (or for Nicholas Sparks-style sobfests, for that matter.)

I personally enjoyed the well-threaded references to Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. The parallels drawn were gut-wrenching and skillfully utilized, regardless of how one might feel about the suicide-related aspects.

And here’s where my medical background swoops in like Nurse Ratchet and mercilessly underscores aspects I might have otherwise been able to ignore...

-Why are surgical filtration masks never mentioned?
No masks of any kind, in fact, for the purpose of at least reducing risk. No one from the outside ever wears one when they go through the decontamination process to enter Maddy’s house. And when Maddy contemplates taking the chance of leaving the purported safe-haven of her home, absolutely zero risk-diminishing measure cross her mind. Hazmat suit? No. Super-soaker full of Purell? Nay. Gloves? Nope. Dollar Tree flu masks? Not even. It’s as though no one has the slightest idea how to manage the practicalities of someone who is immuno-suppressed. I could understand Maddy’s eventual willingness to take risks to live more normally, but why not do so more safely?

-On a related note, it’s pretty unclear why anyone thinks Maddy needs a full-time nurse—who constitutes an additional and consistent exposure risk (i.e. by going out into the world and home to her family ever night.) Maddy isn’t consistently ill and presents as fully independent, albeit within her controlled “bubble” home environment. The house is high-tech and she could easily be monitored while her mother is away at work. As much as she SHOULD know about her own care by age 18, she could be taking and keeping track of her own vital signs. I have a lot of trouble fathoming how a full-time nurse is logical or cost-effective.

-I'm deeply disappointed no efforts were made at using the story to better inform readers about either SCID or Munchausen's by Proxy. Aside from a brief first-page explanation of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, additional information isn’t offered along the way—not even when the obvious educating opportunity of the potential boyfriend presents. All focus was instead placed on the romance. But as far as we know, Olly doesn’t ask many questions or otherwise research his beloved’s condition… (That I find most difficult to believe. The fault of too much personal experience, perhaps.)
---------------

Issues with medical suspension of disbelief aside, I also had some trouble buying the romance.
It starts out beautifully with Olly going to theatric extremes in trying to win and maintain Maddy’s close-distance attention. The bunt cake montage is certainly chuckle-worthy, and sets up readers to anticipate getting to know a young man with a great sense of humor. But alas, that is also the last point where I have recollection of feeling humored. There’s no resurfacing of this goofball-ish determination we at first found endearing. I suspect most of the appeal in their relationship is to those who are more enthralled with Maddy’s first-time-sensations—as those are somewhat amplified due to her lifetime of isolation and longing.

It is implied that a good deal of their romance blossomed gradually via online interactions—which unfortunately, left most of the emotional intimacy to telling rather than showing. We aren’t privileged to know much of what they talked about online. By the end of the book, I felt like I still didn't know either of them particularly well.

Content Note: The book contains a sex scene that, while not graphic, isn’t what I’d call fade-to-black either. Condom use is at least mentioned.
Issues of mental illness are sidestepped, and the handling of the feature illness may strike immuno-suppressed readers (and their family and/or caregivers) as trivialized. There’s also a persistent message that could easily lead some readers to the depressingly insidious conclusion of: “If you are living with limitations, you’re not living at all!”

And therein lies my biggest qualm with this book—a seriously problematic disability portrayal. I could fumble through expanding on this and all the spoilers that would entail, but I’d prefer to point to a far better qualified source--Jennifer J. Johnson’s review from Disability In Kidlit:

http://disabilityinkidlit.com/2015/09/04/review-everything-everything-by-nicola-yoon/

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Princess Breeze
For months, Breeze Brannigan has heard nothing from Cam,...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The Unlikelies
One good deed will change everything. Sadie is not...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Roar (Stormheart #1)
New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack's young adult...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1)
An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Thief's Cunning
Allegra Saldana has always had to look over her...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
You're Weird: A Creative Journal for Misfits, Oddballs, and Anyone Else Who's Uniquely Awesome
Part journal, part activity book, and all fun, You're...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
My Weird School Fast Facts: Explorers, Presidents, and Toilets
Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School!...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
My Weird School Fast Facts: Space, Humans, and Farts
Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School!...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
ALEX HUNT and the Chase for Rhapta
I am Alex Hunt, daughter of the famous Archaeological Hunt...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Barnacle Chronicles: The Search for Dark Matter
Twelve-year-old Simon Barnacle is falling apart. Literally. His body is...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Serafina and the Splintered Heart
The storms are coming... Something has happened to Serafina. She...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
The Little Book of Little Activists
A celebration of political activism by America's youngest citizens--our children....
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Together at Midnight
What does it really mean to be kind . ....
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Fuecho Y Pablo
Pablo's attempt to get his best friend Ugly Cat a...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Little i
A charming, suspenseful, and wholly original picture book about the...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Dragonfly Song
The girl has had many selves in her short life....
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Just Friends
 
3.3
"JUST FRIENDS by Dyan Sheldon is a sweet YA romantic comedy featuring Josh Shine, a music-loving, ponytailed, chess-playing, short high..."
The Last Magician
 
5.0
"The Last Magician was a magical and exciting novel set in 1902 that featured time-travel, magic and gangs in New..."
Phoenix Descending (Curse of the Phoenix #1)
 
5.0
"Phoenix Descending was a really interesting fantasy novel filled with action, adventure and a strong female character. Tori Kagari's family..."
Genuine Fraud
 
3.3
"GENUINE FRAUD by E. Lockhart is a character-driven thriller that is told in reverse chronological order. In essence, the book..."
Together at Midnight
 
3.3
"A cute and bittersweet story of young love at the wrong time. The story: Kendall has just returned..."
The Thousandth Floor
 
4.0
"Everything about this book is so glamorous, dramatic, and intriguing. Right down to that stunning cover. Katharine McGee..."
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1)
 
3.3
"It took me a long time to finish Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, but overall, this book turned out to..."
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo
 
5.0
"It took me awhile to really get into this book. I think a big part of it was that..."
Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)
 
5.0
"I finally got a chance to sit down and read this one and I was not disappointed. It definitely..."
The Girl in the Tower
 
4.7
"This follow up to The Bear and the Nightingale is just as stunning as its predecessor. We met Vasya as..."
When Dimple Met Rishi
 
3.3
"A contemporary YA romance—heavy on the romance—with an Indian-American take on the attraction of opposites. The story is told..."
It's Not Me, It's You
 
3.7
"'It's Not Me, It's You' by Stephanie Kate Strohm provides a unique and somewhat irregular look into the dynamics of..."
You're Weird: A Creative Journal for Misfits, Oddballs, and Anyone Else Who's Uniquely Awesome
 
5.0
"'You're Weird: A Creative Journal for Misfits, Oddballs, and Anyone Else Who's Uniquely Awesome' by Kate Peterson will allow anyone..."
The Riddle (Pellinor #2)
 
4.7
"THE RIDDLE by Alison Croggon is the second in the author's Pellinor series, and it picks up right where book..."
A Taxonomy of Love
 
3.3
"A story of love that spans a childhood. The story: Spencer is a lonely boy with Tourette's when he..."
The Selection Coloring Book
 
4.0
"Selection fans get excited! THE SELECTION COLORING BOOK, based on the series by Kiera Cass, is getting ready to celebrate..."
The Memory of Things
 
4.0
"When I first found out that THE MEMORY OF THINGS by Gae Polisner was set in the immediate days following..."
Mean Girls
 
4.0
"MEAN GIRLS (2004), the cult film phenomenon starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Tina Fey, is now a..."
Dune (Dune Chronicles #1)
 
5.0
"Its a classic. Not much more I can add."
On A LARP
 
3.3
"In ON A LARP, Sid is known to be a hacker after a past school prank, and she's a good..."