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Literature / Bubble World

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Cuz when you're on the island, girl
All that matters is that you're an island girl

Bubble World is a dystopian YA novel by Carol Snow.

Freesia Summers has it all. Living on the magical island of Agalinas with her doting parents and adorable baby sister, Freesia focuses on the important things in life: what to wear, what makeup goes with her hair, the status of her friendlies and enemies, and gorgeous pop star Chase Bennett. A bubble helps her keep track of these exhausting activities and stay in touch with her two best friends, Jelissa and Ricky, and for the most part, her life is perfect.

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Until one day a power outage blacks out everything around her, and she wakes up in the real world with no memory of who she is. As it turns out, the entire island was a computer simulation called Bubble World, which was supposed to give her the quality education she couldn't get in the real world. To make matters worse, her real name is Francine, her family is nothing like it is on the island, and when she looks for friends, she can't seem to find any.

Francine thinks reality is very overrated... or is it?


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This book contains examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: Chai, who isn't even real—she's a virtual construct designed to give players someone to hate.
  • “Awesome McCool” Name: Bubble World had a choose your own name feature, resulting in names like Freesia Summers, Ricky Leisure, Dare Fiesta, and Taser Lucas.
  • Big Bad: Todd Piloski, CEO of Bubble World. He emotionally manipulates both Freesia and her mom, and is only in it for the money. When Bubble World is retooled, he retains control of a military base to develop war games, which is what he wanted to do in the first place.
  • Big Eater: Ricky is always snacking on something or drinking something. It gets played for serious drama later. In the real world he's morbidly obese and in danger of dying, but refuses to exercise or eat less because he enjoys eating that much.
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  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Unlike her Agalinas self, Angel is definitely this in the real world.
  • Enforced Plug: Even before she learns the truth, Freesia grows annoyed with the plugs for Tracey's Coffee.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Appliance: Bubbles and Bright Planet's PESTs work like cell phones and videophones. The bubbles also let you choose your wardrobe and hair.
  • Future Slang: Plenty. Friends are called friendlies, dating is linking, "de-vicious" means gorgeous or cool, "flippy" means weird, and happy juice and sleepy juice refer to drinks that make you happy or tired.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: More and more of these happen in early chapters until the server crashes, catapulting Freesia into the real world.
  • Hope Spot: After Freesia reveals the truth about Bubble World to her parents, it seems as if her mom will care for her daughters and turn away from the computer. Instead, she's offered a job at the retooled Bubble World, Bright Planet, and accepts.
  • I Choose to Stay: Ultimately, Freesia chooses to stay in the real world and be a good big sister to Angel—helped along by her best friend in Bubble World being a virtual construct based off of a real friend of hers. This is also played very darkly when Ricky chooses to stay in Bubble World despite knowing that his life is at risk.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: This is why Angel acts out—to be noticed by her parents and loved.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Everyone on Bubble World has a perfect body, causing major shock for Freesia when she enters the real world and sees that not only does everyone seem fat, so does she.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Memory blockers were meant to erase players' memory of three weeks before entering Bubble World; instead they erased all of it. Freesia's comes back very gradually.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Bubble World is this, as students take memory blockers before entering. When Freesia doesn't take hers and tries to reveal what she knows, her Bubble World account is put in jeopardy.
  • Meaningful Name: Ricky Leisure lounges around all day eating things. In the real world, doing so is killing him.
  • Parental Neglect: Freesia's mom is more concerned about her internet blog than her husband and children, and her dad lacks presence because he's wrapped up in the past.
    • Ricky's father lets him do whatever he wants just to get him out of the way, even to the point of purchasing Bubble World if it will make him go back.
  • Product Placement: Ads for Tracey's Famous Coffee are everywhere in Bubble World.
    There's nothing like a coffee cloud to start your day the Tracey way!
  • Retool: Late in the book, Bubble World is retooled into Bright Planet, which focuses properly on education—to an extent.
  • Reality Warper: Ricky can do whatever he wants and get whatever he wants in Bubble World, essentially making him a reality warper.
  • The Reveal: Halfway through the book, we learn that Ricky is morbidly obese and in danger of dying, and at the very end we learn that Jelissa isn't real and was Freesia's Insta-Friend to make up for losing Erin's friendship in the real world.
  • Satellite Character: For people who have trouble making friends, an Insta-Friend can be programmed in to give them someone to connect to. As it turns out, Jelissa is this for Freesia.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: As Todd Piloski makes his war games more real, they start to mess with people's health like real war would.
  • Sweet Tooth: Most food in Bubble World is sickly sweet—not that it matters, because it all tastes the same.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Freesia's mom profusely denies putting her in Bubble World because they couldn't deal with her. It was for her education. Really. Given that they later do the same to Angel, the former is likely correct.
  • Valley Girl: Every girl in Agalinas is like this, partially due to memory erasure, partially due to an extreme focus on shopping, hair, and makeup, and partially due to the education system being tailored to their wants, not needs.
  • Wistful Amnesia: Freesia suffers from this once she spends more time in the real world and her memories return in pieces.

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