Abby Cooper's BUBBLES is the follow-up to her strong debut and surprisingly takes every aspect to the next level. I was amazed, chapter by chapter, just how good Cooper’s new middle grade novel truly is. BUBBLES has all the humor, magical whimsy, and lovable characters that were notable in her first outing, but manages to exceed expectations in terms of style, voice, and concept.
12-year-old Sophie has a lot on her plate: her mother is single (again), unemployed and depressed, her teacher is making her do a challenging project on risk-taking, her best friends convince her to do a triathlon with them, and she’s getting a crush on her childhood friend Rafael. To make matters more interesting, Sophie starts to see other people’s thoughts in balloons over their heads and finds out there are definite pluses and minuses to knowing what on people’s minds.
The concept works really well and draws the reader deeper into Sophie’s inner world with every revelation. Most of us can relate to thinking we can read other people’s minds at times, and it’s never more important than when in our young teens. The plot moves along nicely and gathers momentum with every relational complication. In the end, it comes down to learning about communication, and without saying too much more, the results are surprising, funny, and touching. I highly recommend this wonderful and inspiring novel.