The Fourteenth Goldfish
Jennifer L. Holm
210 pages random house for young readers
Good for YA 8-12/14 year olds (gr 5-7)
Adults will find this fun to read too, perhaps even reading the story out loud together (I would love to be the grandfather’s humorous voice. Make sure you have Wikipedia handy or several books to look up parallel stories.) There are good discussion points in each chapter, including adapt and change, poignant passages, heartfelt family issues: adult parent/ child, grandfather/father and daughter, mother and daughter.
Some school issues are addressed too – appearances are not everything, learn to look beneath the surface, become friends, build confidence.
11 year old Ellie Cruz is a smart little girl, starting middle school but struggling with too many changes. She is quite perceptive, interestingly especially concerning her mother. Then Grandad comes back as a teenager, to live with them; he was a famous scientist but his fountain of youth experiment worked too well on him. This book beautifully addresses family issues, as the author is an adept pro. I will be looking for more of her books.
I had no doubt Ellie would mature to a lovely, interesting (and one hopes scientific) adult. She has learned that life is about passion, interests and talents and good humor throughout helps. Science is presented in everyday light: Chemistry in cooking physics in relationships, astronomy in life. Science doesn’t have all the answers and there are consequences that need to be thought out. This is entertaining and educational (I loved the future research section).
“Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.”
Jonas Salk (would that we all lived by this message)
Good for chapter books
Good as step to graphic books
Good for grandparents to purchase!
Digital ARC from NetGalley (thank you!)