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Bubble World Hardcover – July 30, 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10–Although Bubble World seems like the perfect place for a teenage girl to find true happiness, the virtual-reality environment has its faults. As cracks in the cyber design start to show and Freesia begins to learn more about this seemingly flawless paradise, she must grapple with issues of reality versus perfection. Should she live in a place where everything is delightfully “de-vicious” or face the tough but beautiful experience of real life? Themes of privacy, beauty, free speech, and education are explored in a subtle, effective way. The quick pacing will propel readers forward, and a few nicely placed plot twists will keep them satisfied. Readers who enjoyed Libba Bray's Beauty Queens (Scholastic, 2011) will relish Snow's sarcastic wit, and fans of Neal Shusterman's “Unwind Dystology” series (S & S) will recognize an alternate world in which parents have exclusive rights over the lives of their children. Teens will enjoy following Freesia in this humorous sci-fi novel.–Carrie Shaurette, Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Freesia lives a carefree, candy-colored life in Avalon, where she is awoken every day by a pair of pop-song-singing peacocks. She clothes her perfect body in the latest fashions selected from her gigantic closet and takes classes like Foundations in Foundation—when she is not shopping and partying, that is. Sound too good to be true? You are right; actually, she has spent the last three years in a bubble pod attending virtual reality “school,” and her existence is shockingly less glamorous than she thought. Snow (Snap, 2009) nestles a powerful message about bravery, self-confidence, and integrity in the midst of fluffy, irreverent talk of fashion and teen idols and a virtual world at the crossroads of The Matrix and Barbie’s Dreamhouse. Grades 7-10. --Sarah Hunter
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1 edition (July 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805095713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805095715
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,477,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Called "an author to watch" by Booklist, Carol Snow is an American author of contemporary women's fiction and young adult literature. After graduating from Brown University with a degree in psychology, she spent many years writing literary short stories before accepting that she couldn't go more than a few hundred words without cracking a joke. She eventually turned her attention to crafting humorous, heartfelt stories with a wider commercial appeal, and In 2006, Berkley/Penguin published her first novel, Been There, Done That, which Publisher's Weekly called "humorous, wise . . . romance with a bit of social commentary." Since then, she has written four more books for adults, Getting Warmer (2007), Here Today, Gone to Maui (2009), Just Like Me, Only Better (2010), and the upcoming What Came First (2011), about which Laura Fitzgerald, bestselling author of Veil of Roses, said, "Carol Snow mixes her trademark humor with tenderness and understanding in this good-mom/bad-mom tale of unexpected twists and turns." Carol has also written two young adult books for HarperCollins, Switch (2008), an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and Snap (2009). Foreign rights to her books have sold to publishers in Germany, Norway, and Romania.

Carol Snow grew up in New Jersey. Much of her childhood was spent immersed in books; the rest was focused on avoiding dodgeball. In addition to her psychology degree from Brown University, she holds an M.A.T. in English from Boston College. Before getting her first book published, she had the typical (for a writer) assortment of odd jobs: tour guide, tutor, chambermaid, waitress. She worked for a T-shirt company, a child services agency, and a vanity press. She even had a short stint in local politics. Her campaign brochures were really pretty, with flawless punctuation.

Since leaving New Jersey, Carol has lived all over the place: Rhode Island, London, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Utah, Arizona, and, now, Southern California, where she shares a cat-fur-coated house with her husband and their two children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Bubble World reminded me of a cross between Total Recall and The Truman Show. The premise is that children will learn through a virtual/alternate education they don't know is not real.

By using their "bubbles" the children connect themselves to their own worlds. Freesia (a teen) lives in an ideal environment complete with peacocks, a fully stocked wardrobe, and an attitude that seriously needs to be adjusted.

The virtual world the children live is Agalinas. It's a bubble so it's not reality and I think we get that early on. This being a virtual world, there are technological setbacks, particularly since this is the beginning of the virtual education revolution. When the bubble crashes, Freesia gets a good dose of reality. Being used to perfection in the bubble, Freesia (Francine) is forced to look at the world and her family as they are, warts and all. She ultimately rejects a "memory reducer" from her father and creates chaos when she goes back into the bubble with the other kids discussing the outside (or real) world finding some other kids with similar suspicions.

Because of this infraction, she is expelled from life in the bubble and must readjust to the reality of teen life in the real world. As the story progresses we begin to learn more and more about Agalinas and why certain children are "committed" (largely due to some big troubles in real life).

We also learn about the creator of Agalinas and his motives. Through a series of events, Agalinas is revamped into a proper school and Francine goes back but it's not the Agalinas she knows.

I won't give away any more of the story but I really thought this was an original idea and almost plausible.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Carol Snow, the author, has an interesting idea. In the near future, children can be educated through total immersion in a virtual environment. The environment is so engrossing that the children cannot even tell that they are in an alternate state of being.

[BEWARE SPOILERS FOLLOW]

Bubble World takes place at the dawn of this revolution. The point of view character is Francine, or Freesia as she calls herself. She starts the book living in a perfect world, Agalinas, the virtual world where she has peacocks that greet her in the morning, a walk-in closet full of clothes, and friends that she can instantly reach using her "bubble." And, she is a totally self-absorbed, loathsome, spoiled teenager.

Bubble World has several meanings. The children in Agalinas all have PDA+ called a bubble. The children hooked into the virtual world live in bubbles inside their homes, and the world of Agalinas is a bubble.

To the author's credit, she tips her hand that Agalinas is not real in the first five chapters when the virtual world crashes. It is a temporary set-back though, and Freesia gets a glimpse of the real girl, Francine, with her acne, frizzy hair, and dumpy frame.

A few chapters later, the virtual world crashes hard, and Freesia is forced back out into the real world where she meets her family and spends a few hours with them. The family looks like a real family, not like their perfect counterparts in Agalinas. After a few hours, the corrections to the virtual world are complete, but, when the father gives Francine the memory reducer to eliminate her memory of the time in the real world, Francine flushes it down the toilet instead.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When we first meet Freesia, she seems to have it all: a beautiful house on a magical island, a loving family, beautiful friends, a closet full of gorgeous clothes, and a perfect life of no responsibility.
But you know that old saying about if it's too good to be true...

Freesia doesn't pay too much attention to the little things, but even she eventually notices that not everything is as it appears. What's with all of the black-outs lately? The odd glitches? The nasty nightmare where she's in a little dark room and her reflection isn't her own? Too scary to ignore, but she's not sure what it all means.

Found the premise of this book fascinating, as we discover alongside Freesia that her perfect life in paradise is not quite what it seems. Part of the fascination is that I could see her situation becoming a reality not too far down the road (if it's not already here)!

This is a fun, bubbly story that makes a great summer read! Recommended for anyone looking for a fast read or something light and fluffy for the beach.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Freesia lives in a wonderful world, where her mother brings her coffee every morning as she listens to the family's pet peacocks sing her favorite song. Then she goes to school and does only the work she wants to, and then she goes shopping for the most wonderful clothes she can find.

Something is wrong here. Very wrong. Or maybe it's just 'too right'. In any event, when she starts having odd moments when she sees what she thinks is a really ugly girl in the mirror, and when certain events start repeating themselves, she starts to suspect that her whole world is a lie.

Well, I don't want to go into a lot of detail but the mystery here unfolds very logically and Freesia's world(s) end up colliding. Faced with a decision of what exactly constitutes reality, Freesia has to make some very hard choices.

I couldn't put this down. I really wanted to find out exactly what was going on!
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