How I Heard About It: This isn't an easy to describe. I heard about a book called Sticks and Stones by an Abby Cooper. I then learned she was going to be at #NerdCampMI last July. We began tweeting and met face to face in Michigan. Her first novel was our second read aloud in my fourth grade classroom. We were lucky enough to host her for an afternoon of sharing, questions, comments, and of course CUPCAKES. Abby left us with a surprise which was called "Bubbles". I'm going to share this second novel of hers with my class, but couldn't wait to read it so I brought it home and read the whole book over the weekend. After we finish the story, we will send it on its way on an ARC book tour. I feel very fortunate to have been one of the very first people to read this book.
What It Is About: Sophie isn't your typical twelve year old girl. She finds herself being able to "read" peoples' minds with the "thought bubbles" that appear above their heads. Sophie knows this isn't typical, but just tries to go with it. Weighing on her mind is the fact that she takes responsibility for breaking up her mother and boyfriend, causing her mother to lose her job, and a few other "mishaps". During the school day she hangs with her besties Kaya and Rafael. They are all excited about a social studies project their teacher assigns about taking RISKS. Once the project begins, Sophie finds herself in an awkward position when Viv "worms" her way into their circle of friendship. After sharing with her mother about the "bubbles" that are appearing, she finds herself talking with a therapist to work out these "issues". The more Sophie tries to stay tight with Kaya and Rafael, she finds herself feeling more and more alone; except for all of the thought bubbles that keep popping up in her life.
What I Thought Of It: I first thought I would just read the ARC with my class, but before I left school on Friday I grabbed the book and put it in my backpack. I read a few chapters on Friday night, a few more on Saturday night, and finished the story this morning. All I can say is that it was a completely enjoyable reading experience. I'm mentioned on social media, that the "sophomore" book can sometimes not measure up to the first book, but that was NOT the case with Bubbles. I really like the story of Sticks & Stones, but in some ways I think I may actually like this story a "tad" better. I found myself loving Sophie right off the bat and everything she did in the story warmed my heart. The characters that surrounded her were so necessary and uniquely their own people. A colossal strength of Abby's is creating a realistic fiction story about young people with a "touch" of magic sprinkled in. Her ability to do this makes me feel like the "fantasy" could actually happen in life. The life lessons presented in the plot were strong, important, and necessary for young readers to experience. I'm excited to get started with the book tomorrow with my fourth graders and know they are going to love it as much as I did.
Who Should Read It: Abby writes the perfect story for readers in the middle grades. In my opinion, the book can be easily shared with children in grades four, five, and six. That doesn't mean a third grader shouldn't read it, or a student in middle-school. I found that all my students, boys and girls, enjoyed Sticks and Stones equally. The same can be said for this book. I also want to encourage all of my adult reader friends to put this on their TBR list because you are going to LOVE it! Happy Reading...
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars