Jennifer Holm is one of my favorite authors, first of all. Turtle in Paradise, one of her Newbery winning books, is one of the sweetest, funniest books that I have ever read. (Check out the 90 Second Newbery Film done by a couple of F.AVE students about it below) The Fourteenth Goldfish did not disappoint at all. Her books are always written with a great voice, drawing the reader in with humor and wit. Her female protagonists are strong, independent, and quirky, just the type of character that I love. In this book, Ellie is a middle school girl trying to adapt to the changes that middle school brings. Her best friend, Brianna, has joined the volleyball team and doesn't seem to have time for Ellie anymore, her babysitter has quit, and her grandfather comes to live with them. Ellie's grandfather is a scientist who doesn't really approve of Ellie's mother, so they are not very close. However, one day a scientific "accident" makes it imperative that he come live with them. (I don't want to tell you too much, because it might ruin the story.)
The story is funny with elements of fantasy and impossibility that somehow seem possible. I wouldn't really call it a fantasy book, however. It is more a story about Ellie dealing with her relationship with her grandfather and the numerous obstacles in a middle schooler's path. As always, Jennifer Holm fills the pages with jokes and humor, even as the characters are learning serious lessons about themselves. It has a little adventure thrown in for those action junkies too. One of my favorite parts of the book though is the title. Why is it called The Fourteenth Goldfish? All I will say is that the title is a metaphor. See if you can figure it out!
Below are some other books you might love, if you love The Fourteenth Goldfish!