Review of the Week: “The Fourteenth Goldfish”

14th goldfishHolm, Jennifer L. The Fourteenth Goldfish. Fiction.  Random, 2014. 208p. $16.99 978-0-375-87064-4, PLB $19.99 978-0-375-97064-1. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 3-7.

Ellie’s mom brings home a 13-year-old relative from the police station. He turns out to be Ellie’s scientist grandfather who has discovered a way to reverse the aging process. Humor, an authentic first-person voice, dynamic dialogue, and a popular premise make for an engaging read. This is more thoughtful than one might expect, due to its similarities to movies like Freaky Friday and Big; Ellie deals with middle school friendships, and the ethical premise of reverse aging is discussed in a realistic way while still being entertaining.  Not just fast and funny, this will have wide age appeal while still being a book that can invite discussions of ethical dilemmas. Drawings of cartoon fish open each chapter, inviting those moving up from transitional fiction to tween novels to feel comfortable. Review based on an ARC.

Penny Peck, San Jose State Univ, SLIS

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