Book review: The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer L. Holm

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? Goodreads


Believe in the possible.

I know that this was a children’s book and I just love me some children’s book. More often than not, children’s books are always so simple and yet warm-hearted to the core; it leaves you with feel-good feeling to last a couple of days. Apart from my obvious bias on children’s book, this was definitely enjoyable and I wished there was a book like this for me growing up (maybe there is, but I was not much of a reader when I was young).

This was a very informative book, although most of the informations were quite simple and could be searched through the internet these days. But, since it was written and incorporated nicely into the story, I think that children reading this book will have remembered the information well and would be interested in learning more about Salk, Oppenheimer, and Marie Curie. The information mainly talks about science and how science is such an interesting subject. The author did not hesitate in disclosing the harsh truth about Oppenheimer’s invention of the atomic bomb, and the radiation that Marie Curie endured for the sake of science. I think it’s interesting to incorporate those informations into the story as it gives another dimension, about how one’s invention can be seen as both good and bad, or how one simply persevere in the face of hardship, all for science.

Whilst it was quite informative for a children’s book, this book did not lose its touch by only focusing on the science part, there’s the heart-wrenching and the hilarious part of it. I love how the book mainly focuses on changes and how one can cope through the changes without losing control of one’s own life. The fact that Ellie’s relationship with Raj were focused on finding and making new friends is very beautiful. It shows, from an early age, that girls and boys can be friends without the complication of having to feel awkward, leave that for the adult, don’t bother complicating friendship from such a young age.

It was disappointing to see the ending ended on such a short notice, especially when I kept on guessing and half-expecting when things will go wrong, but at the same time it was a perfect ending, for at the end of the day, Ellie was presented with something for her to believe in the possible.

Whilst there was not a single character that I don’t like, there was also not a single character that I particularly like. I like to think that the core of this story was not in the characters, but in the story and the small details in it. The characters were alright.

Definitely! I may not be recommending this to people of my own age, for they might miss on the beauty of it (considering their age and how they might think this book is way too simple for their train of thoughts), but should adult readers are interested, I highly recommend it. If not for the information (that we might have known about already) then for the simple storytelling and how nice it was being young and figuring your interests and making new friends.

Title: The Fourteenth Goldfish

Author: Jennifer L. Holm

Genre: Children’s Book, Fantasy, Humour, Science Fiction

⭐️⭐️⭐️☆☆

Goodreads link

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