Monday, 26 May 2014

Review: The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle

Publisher: Puffin
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: May 1st, 2014
Rating: 8/10

Amazon summary:

All my life I've been tiny Charlie from the Chinese Chippie, whose only friend is Sinus, the kid who stares at walls. But I believe that everyone's good at something. I've just got to work out what my something is... Charlie's found his secret talent: skateboarding. It's his one-way ticket to popularity. All he's got to do is practice, and nothing's going to stop him - not his clumsiness, not his overprotective mum, nothing. Except Charlie isn't the only one in his family hiding a massive secret, and his next discovery will change everything. How do you stay on the board when your world is turned upside down?


The Bubble Wrap Boy is Phil Earle's fourth book and his first for a slightly younger audience. It follows Charlie Han, known as Tiny Charlie to most, whose parents own a Chinese chippy and whose only real friend is a boy called Sinus. His mother is over-protective to the extreme, which makes it hard for Charlie to embark on his new passion: skateboarding. It's only when a family secret comes to light that things really start to change for him, and suddenly there's a chance that Tiny Charlie from the Chinese chippy will be nothing more than a distant memory.

If you've read any of Phil Earle's books, you'll already know he's a great writer. Honest to a fault and not afraid to tackle difficult subjects, his books are always a pleasure to read. The Bubble Wrap Boy is no different and is so full of heart that it's impossible not to love Charlie. He's dealing with a lot both at school and at home, but he never gives up and never let's anyone take his dreams away. He believes everyone is good at something, you just have to work out what that something is.

The supporting cast of characters all make a big impact too, whether it be Charlie's parents or his best friend Sinus (real name Linus). True friendship can be hard to come by and, even though they have their ups and downs, Charlie and Sinus are the real deal. They're there for each other through everything, which is how it should always be. Charlie's parents are more complicated, especially his mum. She's ridiculously overprotective and Charlie doesn't understand why. She's also fierce and headstrong, which doesn't always come in handy when a showdown with Charlie's school peers is on the cards! His dad is less scary, instead choosing to be quiet and more introverted. He's full of wisdom and advice though, which ultimately makes Charlie's life take a completely different path.

I love The Bubble Wrap Boy and everything it stands for. It's about family and friendship, about how life doesn't have one set path that can never be changed. It's about taking matters into your own hands, believing in yourself and knowing you can do whatever you put your mind to. It's a great read for teens and adults alike and will surely be the book to catapult Phil Earle to children's literature stardom. It will make you laugh too, so what are you waiting for? Go and meet the Bubble Wrap Boy!

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