Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop Is Soft, Gentle Love

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop cover of Cherry and Smile in front with their friends behind them.

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop takes a brief summer of growth and young love for a pair of teens wrapped in a heroic quest for a record. In a short span, the light novel explores insecurity, shyness, love, and the struggle to convey emotions in a meaningful, enriching way. Social media and haiku add a layer that endears readers to the story. Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop emphasizes feelings and sensations, crafting a beauty in this slow-building tale that makes it impossible to put the book down. 

It’s a light and fun tale written by Kyohei Ishiguro with a cover design by Nawada Kohei and translated by Kevin Gifford. The Yen Press light novel follows Sakura, nicknamed Cherry, as he goes through a routine that’s about to get a well-deserved wrench tossed in. Sakura’s summer is uneventful at first. He writes haiku and posts it Curiosity, a social media app, and keeps to himself. However, as he subs for his mother as a helper at a senior center in the Sunnyside Mall, new possibilities open up. It begins when he crashes into Smile at the mall.  While Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop focuses on emotions and description to paint a beautiful, almost serene look at youth. 

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop Blends Character Development With a Quest

It’s reminiscent of Stand By Me. Albeit that film is more dramatic look at growing up via a journey to see a dead body. Fortunately, Words Bubble Up Like SodayPop, does not have a macabre journey. It’s more slice-of-life. Here, Cherry and Smile’s quest is to find a record for the senior, fellow haiku-lover, Mr. Fujiyama. In addition, both Cherry and Smile confront their issues engaging with people outside of social media. 

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop cover of Cherry and Smile in front with their friends behind them.
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop cover art. Courtesy of Yen Press.

Cherry’s so shy and hates loud noises. So, he wears large headphones over his ears that play no music. Smile is warm and engaging online as an influencer alongside her two sisters. However, she is uncomfortable in person, especially now that she has braces and does not want anyone to see them. As the pair collide, and a gradual friendship develops, where both learn to be more open. Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop captures the uncertainty and nerves of first love.

Poetry, Young Love, and Past Love

Cherry and Smile’s relationship is a sweet counter to Mr. Fujiyama, who’s searching for a particular record that holds significant meaning. So, the story is new love and old love housed within the same tale. Throughout this, Cherry posts haiku on Curiosity, and Smile posts her livestreams. Their relationship and quest don’t alter their characters. Instead, it brings out a facet of themselves that is more comfortable with in-person social settings besides their brimming love. Their arc comes full circle in a heartfelt way that speaks to how the right people enrich one’s life. 

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is a calm, joyful, and bittersweet journey. As it captures the conflicting emotions and insecurity of new friendship and love. Although the pace is gradual, it’s perfect for the story, like a lazy summer meandering. Thanks to the contrasts and growth, along with emotional peaks and valleys, Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is a delight. 

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