Starting the new school year is always tough, new teachers, new expectations and in Ellie’s case, worrying about making new friends. But things take an even more difficult twist when her mother coms home with a thirteen year old boy who claims to be her grandfather. At this point, we could clearly expect Ellie to pull out all of the pre-teen angst and retreat into herself, but then strange things start to happen: she actually believes Melvin’s tale.
I enjoyed Ellie, I found her surprisingly uncomplicated with parents who were perfectly willing to let her find her own joy and path in life. Not too worried about growing up too fast, or overly worried about boys, her looks, her future or even her social standing, Ellie presented a solid character with curiosity and openness, and a willingness to see where life could lead.
As the story progressed, Holm created dialog and relationship interactions that felt very family, and Ellie’s voice as she learns more about the possibilities of science and its impact on nearly every aspect of life and nature was a nice introduction into the ‘harder’ sciences with a female protagonist, offering opportunities and options that often aren’t discovered until later in life. The contrast between the very theatrical parents who almost thrive on the variant insecurities and flexibility of their world with Ellie’s aversion to change shows potential for both to grow, and fortunately they do. As a middle-grade title, this enjoyable and seemingly lighthearted story contains hidden depth in its presentation of family, relationships, change, science, beginnings, endings, and above all, possibilities will give each reader a different perspective and impression.
Realistic and honest where needed, factual information is dribbled in to give a taste to spur curiosity with just enough to stretch the imagination with Melvin’s appearance to keep the story fun and stretch imagination for readers.
Title: The Fourteenth Goldfish
Author: Jennifer L. Holm
Published by: Random House
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 3 Hours: 3 minutes
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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?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.