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Sunday, 3 August 2014

Review: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

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Title:The Fourteenth Goldfish
Author:Jennifer L. Holm
Publisher:Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:August 26th 2014


Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?

Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed reading this book even though it was centered towards more of a younger audience. I feel as if my childhood self would have enjoyed reading this. Since it was a children's book, I wasn't too judgy about how it was written because obviously, there wasn't any fancy language or lavish description. I also felt that the protagonist, Ellie, even though she was only eleven, she was extremely intelligent and understood things about life that sometimes, even adults do not understand. The actual plot and story itself, though short as it was, was intriguing and really fast-paced. The quotes in this book were so beautiful and thought-provoking!

The main character, Ellie, was suffering the transition from Elementary school to Middle school and having to deal with the fact that she was losing her childhood best friend because they were growing apart. At first, she was distraught about it and was hanging onto the hopes that they could still be friends but throughout the novel we watch as Ellie grows and learns that change is inevitable and just a part of life. I think that to accept that shows an extreme level of maturity that not everyone possesses. She also learned to embrace life and death as two very real things. It was a joy to watch this entire story unfold through her eyes.

The book was quite short in length but the story was so filling! It was humorous and cute and kind of addictive to read. It focuses on really real topics such as life, death and immortality. I really loved how the author integrated this whole aspect of science into the story. There was a lot of mention of respectable Scientists and figures such as Einstein, Oppenheimer and Galileo and weirdly enough, they helped shape the story and added a lot to it. I loved the whole idea of Ellie's grandfather being the same age as her and having to experience childhood again. The entire story and the prospect of "the fourteen goldfish" was really interesting to me. It was an extremely fast-paced story, everything happened so quickly and before you knew it, you were done.

Another thing that I really liked was the philosophical sayings that were sprinkled throughout the book. A lot of the time, they came directly from Ellie, herself, which further demonstrated her maturity and understanding towards sensitive topics. I actually tweeted a few of my favourite quotes from the book so if you're not following me on twitter, what're you doing with your life? A few of them that really stood out to me were:

"You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him discover it in himself" - Galileo

"Average people just give up at obstacles we face everyday. Scientists fail again and again and again. Sometimes for our whole lives. But we don't give up because we want to solve the puzzle."

"Life is precious and we don't realize that at the time. But maybe life's also precious because it doesn't last forever"

The Fourteenth Goldfish was really interesting and enjoyable, I know that I liked reading it and I think that it's worth checking out, especially if you're really into middle grade fiction. I gave it four cupcakes because it was not perfect but I still thought that it was a good read.

Final Sentence of the Book

Thought you might want it.

Read if you enjoy...

Middle Grade Fiction~Thought-provoking quotes

Similar Books

I don't read a lot of middle grade fiction so I actually don't know of a book that compares to this one but if you do, feel free to let me know in the comments below! :)

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  1. I haven't heard of this one but it sounds like a really sweet book. The writing seems nice and Ellie seems like a great character too. But like you I think that younger me would enjoy this much more. It's really hard to relate with young characters for me. Great review, Laquesha :)


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