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The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm

The Fourteenth Goldfish

by Jennifer Holm

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Wow! A great book about the cycle of life, the importance of family and friends, and possibilities. I love that the MC is a girl interested in science. And that she not only learns a few things from her grandfather, but teaches him some things in return. Witty and fun, recommended to all.

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  LibStaff2 | Jul 20, 2014 |
Excellent book. So much to it for kids and adults. Lessons to be learned. I can see this book provoking many discussions, scientific and philosophical. Upper elementary school. Great characters and some very funny situations and dialogue.
Read from NetGalley. ( )
  librarian1204 | Jul 20, 2014 |
This was an entertaining middle-grades book, kind of in the vein of "Freaky Friday," except here the generation switch happens when the protagonist Ellie's grandfather, a scientist, engineers a youth serum out of a rare jellyfish and devolves into a 14-year-old. When he moves in with Ellie and her mom, Ellie begins to understand why her mother and her grandfather have been estranged: her grandfather is high maintenance, to say the least, although his passion for science is contagious. Ellie and her new friend Raj are enlisted to help Grandpa Melvin smuggle the jellyfish out of his former lab--not an easy task for three middle schoolers.

Jennifer Holm does a nice job of developing the story here. After Melvin lectures Ellie about his heroes Jonas Salk and Robert Oppenheimer, she's intrigued enough to do some research into their work. Slowly, she begins to understand that science is far more dramatic and complex than she previously thought it was--and after she learns about the decimation of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, she also begins to question whether science-for-the-sake-of-science is really ethical.

Holm also develops the relationships between the characters well; over the course of the book, Ellie slowly lets go of her childhood BFF Brianna, who's moved on to other interests, and begins to see that middle school can be bearable without her. And Ellie's mother also learns to let go of old resentments and trust in the future, too.

There's a cliffhanger at the end here that suggests that there might be a sequel; it will be interesting to see how Holm continues to develop her characters in a future book, since there are some real loose ends at the end of this one.

NOTE: I received this book as a free e-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  rvhatha | Jul 15, 2014 |
Even though the premise is an outlandish one (but also very fun), Holm tells a simple, uncomplicated story, one of family and identity, age and even ethical responsibility. Holm’s tone is a light-hearted one, and she sprinkles humor throughout. I loved Essie. She’s sweet and introspective. Through her adventures with her grandfather, Essie discovers an interest in science. She finds friends and a newfound confidence in the face of the changes of middle school. The chapters are very short, and I was surprised to find that it was 100 pages because it went so quickly. Very good. ( )
  EuronerdLibrarian | Jun 27, 2014 |
A quick, clever read with some fabulous one-liners. Another great book from Holm. ( )
  Brainannex | Apr 13, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375870644, Hardcover)

Believe in the possible . . . with this brilliantly quirky, thought-provoking novel from New York Times bestseller, three-time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer L. Holm
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?
With a lighthearted touch and plenty of humor, Jennifer Holm celebrates the wonder of science and explores fascinating questions about life and death, family and friendship, immortality . . . and possibility.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 22 Dec 2013 13:33:37 -0500)

Ellie's scientist grandfather has discovered a way to reverse aging, and consequently has turned into a teenager--which makes for complicated relationships when he moves in with Ellie and her mother, his daughter.

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