I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
Narrator: Georgette Perna
Length: 3 Hours 3 Minutes
Published by Random House Children's Books on August 26th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Family, Multigenerational, Social Issues, Death & Dying, General
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Believe in the possible . . . with this "warm, witty, and wise" New York Times bestselling novel from 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.Look for EXCLUSIVE NEW MATERIAL in the paperback—including Ellie’s gallery of scientists and other STEM-appropriate features."Warm, witty and wise"—The New York Times"Awesomely strange and startlingly true-to-life. It makes you wonder what's possible." -- Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach MeSUNSHINE STATE AWARD FINALIST!From the Hardcover edition.
Why Did I Listen To This Book?
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm is a very short audiobook, clocking in at 3 hours and 3 minutes. I decided this would be a great palate cleanser audiobook between longer listens. It would get me through one weekend commute to the boyfriend’s house. Furthermore, the story about science and being young again appealed to me. I mean, I have not seen the film 17 Again, but I would imagine this book is a similar concept but with pre-teens.
What’s The Story Here?
Ellie is a sixth grader who does not adjust well to change -and this year is definitely different. Her best friend is caught up with her volleyball friends and doesn’t have enough time for Ellie. Her goldfish has recently died. However, change is certain to happen, and so it does. One day this weird kid shows up at Ellie’s door. He is cranky and obsessed with science. The weird kid? Her grandfather, Melvin. He has somehow taken this elixir that he concocted that has turned him from a senior citizen back into a pre-teen.
And so, The Fourteenth Goldfish is a humorous examination of what happens when you drink from the fountain of youth, so to speak. It’s funny because even though Melvin is young again, he has the habits of an old man as well as the wardrobe of one. There’s this one scene where he practically starts a riot at school over the necessity of bathroom passes – Melvin believes if you have to go to the bathroom, you just get up and leave and go to the bathroom, no need to sign out or for permission. Frankly, I am with Melvin on that one. It’s not like you have to ask as an adult.
Anyways, Melvin comes home to live with his daughter, Ellie’s mom who is a drama teacher. Ellie’s dad is an actor. Her parents are divorced and that’s actually okay. This book offers no judgment about that which I liked, because as we all know, families come in different forms. There’s drama between Melvin and Ellie’s mom, but again it is too comedic effect.
How Is Ellie As A Character?
Ellie has a lot of animosity towards change. She doesn’t like it. She wants things to stay the same. On the one hand, I get that. There is comfort in the familiar. However, when you close yourself off to change, you also close yourself off to growth and opportunity. This is a lesson that Ellie learns in Jennifer L. Holm’s The Fourteenth Goldfish. Ellie ends up gaining confidence, making new friends, and of course, changing. And that is A-Okay.
How’s The Narration?
The Fourteenth Goldfish is narrated by Georgette Perna. She’s a new to me narrator. I think that for this book, she’s an absolutely appropriate narrator. Her voice is young sounding and believable for a middle grade book. She does different voices for the various characters. Her narration kept my attention for the most part. I think that this book has the best value for its intended audience of middle graders. As an adult, it was an okay listen, but not one that has me evangelizing it.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
Old people in young people bodies!