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The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm
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The Fourteenth Goldfish

by Jennifer Holm

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed. A few people cried. Most people were silent."
-Oppenheimer (Loc 476 of ARC)


That's right, that's an Oppenheimer quote from a middle grade book. This isn't any old middle grade book about a girl and her goldfish (admit it, you kinda thought it was). It's a deeply moving story about a girl, Ellie and her grandfather Melvin. Melvin is a scientist who just made a groundbreaking discovery. He discovered the fountain of youth! He is now her grandfather trapped in a 13 year old's body. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues. But this isn't some comical joke of a novel.

First of all, the book is about science. Technical details, famous scientists name, and controversial issues were all discussed. Keep in mind, in case you're forgetting, this is a middle grade novel. I can't tell you how happy this made me. I mean, middle school was the setting, but Ellie was considering really great topics. For instance, the issue of scientific discovery. Oppenheimer's Manhattan Project (which I didn't learn about until High School, and Ellie is learning it in middle school because of her grandfather), created the atomic bomb. Was the world ready for it? What were the ramifications? How was his discovery received? Did the scientists eat burritos while discussing ideas?

The characters were hilarious. The majority of the humor came from Melvin, Ellie's grandfather-turned 13 year old, who also turns into her new babysitter. He wears her moms leggings because he hates doing laundry. He steals soy sauce packets from the Chinese restaurant (my grandfather does that with saltine crackers). Basically, he's laugh out loud funny. The book is a fast read, and I was instantly captivated by Ellie and her scientific mind. I loved how the author didn't dumb things down for the audience. In fact, she did the opposite. She encourages young readers to look up these famous scientists, and their discoveries! Marie Curie, Einstein, Galileo, Oppenheimer, and Stalk are some of the many that are listed and referenced in the book. Not to mention, at the end there's a wonderful "for further research" page for kids who want to quench what curiosity was piqued from reading the book.

So thank you Jennifer Holm! I will be recommended this to my nephew and niece, as well as my students I tutor. Those who like and those who don't like science, will find this a pleasurable and funny read. I wouldn't e surprised if this wins awards. ( )
  Diamond.Dee. | Jul 3, 2015 |
Lovely story about a girl's growing relationship with her grandfather and how it helps her make important discoveries about herself. Well-crafted, engaging novel that is nicely suited for group discussion. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
Ellie's grandfather is a scientist, who experiments on himself. His latest creation causes him to reverse the aging process, and become a middle schooler again. Ellie learns a lot from him while he goes to school and lives with her, finding her own true passion for science.
  mlbailey77 | May 16, 2015 |
This is an enjoyable, easy young adult read. The question of whether one would want to be young forever is such a powerful thought. On one hand there are so many bad things that come with aging, but if you erase all that, you also erase the beauty of being able to use and share your wisdom. ( )
  MaryRGR | Jan 21, 2015 |
Ellie is a little surprised when her mother brings home a teenaged boy, and the surprises just keep coming once she learns that this teenager is her grandfather! He is a scientist who has realized his lifelong goal to reverse aging! Which is thrilling but presents a number of challenges for Eliie and her mom. As teenagers grandfathers tend to be more than a little offbeat!
Ellie and her grandfather get to know each other as they attend middle school together and embark on a slightly illegal quest to retrieve his research materials from the lab that no longer recognizes him! Together they grapple with big ethical questions, especially the responsibility of a scientist to deal with the consequences of their discoveries. Jennifer Holm sneakily teaches the reader about scientists such as Marie Curie, Jonas Salk, and Robert Oppenheimer. A fun read with a little education thrown in. ( )
  knitwit2 | Jan 17, 2015 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:46 -0400)

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.

» see all 2 descriptions

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