Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Bubble World"

Carol Snow is the author of Snap and Switch, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. She had also written five novels for adults, including Just Like Me, Only Better and What Came First.

Snow applied the Page 69 Test to Bubble World, her latest YA novel, and reported the following:
Good news: Page 69 of Bubble World comes at a pivotal plot moment. Bad news: it may be hard to put it in context, but I’ll try.

Bubble World tells the story of Freesia Summers, a beautiful, fluff-brained girl living in world that she’d realize was too good to be true if she took the time to think about anything. She has her own ocean view balcony, a family that fawns over her, and a social schedule filled with pool parties and weekly balls.

The book starts as a pop culture satire and segues into a science fiction tale about virtual reality that I hope is close enough to our current society to make readers squirm. Wow. That sounds grim. But Kirkus called the book “hilarious,” and Booklist said it “nestles a powerful message . . . at the crossroads of The Matrix and Barbie’s Dreamhouse.” And Barbie’s Dreamhouse can never be grim.

On page 69, Freesia has just awakened, disoriented, from her second blackout in several days. Rather than finding herself on her island paradise, she is in an ugly room surrounded by mean people who look and sound just like her parents and sister:
“It’s waking up!” the girl shrieked.

Freesia’s vision was clearing, the space around her growing from black to gray. She was in the room with the clear walls again, not-Mummy, not-Daddy, and not-Angel gaping at her from the other side.

She was sitting in a black recliner and holding onto a ball, also black and surprisingly warm, about the size of a tangerine. Oh my Todd, was that her bubble? Even though it was the wrong color?

“Call Jelissa,” she commanded, hands shaking. Nothing.

“Call Mummy.” Nothing.

“Friendlies check.”

Frustrated, Freesia chucked the not-bubble to the ground.

“Don’t do that!” not-Mummy shouted. “Do you know how much a control ball costs?”

“Tech support said she might be disoriented,” not-Daddy said. “Said we should talk to her in soothing voices.”

Trembling, Freesia got out of the recliner and crossed to the transparent wall nearest her not-family. “Where am I?”

Not-Daddy exhaled.

Not-Mummy said, “Francine, you’re not in Agalinas anymore.”
I suspect that very few of my teen readers will catch the Wizard of Oz allusion. But I think that a range of readers, from teens to adults, can read this story and enjoy it on different levels. Besides, I know I’m supposed to be writing for my readers, but if something amuses me, I’ll pretty much always leave it in.
Learn more about the book and author at Carol Snow's website.

My Book, The Movie: Just Like Me, Only Better.

My Book, The Movie: What Came First.

--Marshal Zeringue