The Bubble Wrap Boy

Phil Earle. Delacorte, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-553-51315-8
Fourteen-year-old Charlie Han is short, clumsy, and friendless—save for fellow school outcast Linus (aka Sinus), with whom he has nothing in common. Charlie's overprotective mother (who insists that he ride a tricycle when making deliveries for the family's Chinese takeout restaurant, Special Fried Nice) doesn't help his basement-level social status either. After Charlie discovers skateboarding, it feels like his life is turning a corner—until his mother has a mortifying meltdown at the skate park. His peers respond with a prank that involves wrapping him in bubble wrap, an event that is recorded and goes viral. Charlie's amusing sarcasm ("It's bad enough fulfilling every racial stereotype possible by being a Chinese kid who lives above a takeout place, without the takeout having the lamest name known to man") masks a vulnerability that will resonate with anyone who has felt like an outsider. The humiliation of being the butt of a joke is sensitively rendered, as is Charlie's slow reclamation of his pride in this witty, true-to-life story. Ages 10–up. Agent: Jane Willis, United Agents. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/05/2015
Release date: 10/13/2015
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 288 pages - 978-0-553-51316-5
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-553-51318-9
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-14-134629-8
Prebound-Glued - 288 pages - 978-0-606-39343-0
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