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The Fourteenth Goldfish
by Jennifer L. Holm


Overview - 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?
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Overview

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 Me
"SUNSHINE STATE AWARD FINALIST "

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780375870644
  • ISBN-10: 0375870644
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
  • Publish Date: August 2014
  • Page Count: 208
  • Reading Level: Ages 8-12

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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-05-26
  • Reviewer: Staff

Middle school doesn’t start smoothly for 11-year-old Ellie, whose best friend finds her passion (volleyball) and new teammates to eat lunch with, while Ellie flounders, uninterested in sports or her parents’ avocation, theater. A startling addition to the household helps Ellie get her groove back when Grandpa Melvin, a scientist, moves in after engineering a cure for aging (the regenerative properties of jellyfish are involved) and transforming himself into a teenage boy. Though Melvin dresses and acts like the crotchety old man he was, he and Ellie bond over spirited discussions about Jonas Salk, Robert Oppenheimer, the possibilities of science, and the moral questions scientific advances can raise. Though the subject matter has a lot of intellectual heft, the writing has Holm’s ever-present light touch. The small cast, which refreshingly includes divorced parents who treat each other respectfully, is so well realized that the farfetched aspects of the plot seem almost plausible. This is top-notch middle-grade fiction with a meaty dilemma, humor, and an ending that leaves room for the possibility of a sequel. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Grinberg Literary Management. (Aug.)

 
BookPage Reviews

With great discovery comes responsibility

Lots of scientists—Newton, Salk, Galileo—changed the world. Now Ellie’s grandfather Melvin might be on the same track. But is that a good thing?

When 11-year-old Ellie meets the new, somewhat odd, boy in town, she soon learns it’s really her Grandpa Melvin, a scientist who discovered the secret to eternal youth. Masquerading as Ellie’s cousin, Melvin embarks on a secret mission to prove his scientific methods are valid. But amid the adventure of it all, something just doesn’t seem right.

Despite her growing interest in science, Ellie begins to understand that all science has consequences, positive or negative. She considers Oppenheimer’s atomic bomb, for example. Just because something works doesn’t mean we should use it, right? Maybe Grandpa Melvin’s eternal youth solution isn’t the answer to everything. 

Science is powerful stuff, and it can be heady. But in the hands of capable Newbery Honor author Jennifer L. Holm, it can be truly funny and touching as well. Holm seamlessly brings a science theme to a quirky book that middle grade readers will actually want to read because, after all, who doesn’t want to know what is really possible in the world? As Holm deftly shows, nothing is impossible.

 

This article was originally published in the September 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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