The Fourteenth Goldfish

It’s Stephanie Burgis’ Hot Chocolate Day! Which means you should all take a break and drink some hot chocolate to celebrate the release of the Kat, Incorrigible boxed set! (This is on my wishlist… I will have to buy it for myself if nobody else does, but my birthday is coming up!) In honor of Hot Chocolate Day, here’s a recipe for Spanish Hot Chocolate with Churros, as I was bowled away by the delicious thick hot chocolate when I was in Spain myself.

I read this book because Netgalley thought I should, and I thought they might be right – we’ve very much enjoyed the Babymouse and Squish graphic novels Holm writes with her brother.
The Fourteenth GoldfishThe Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm. Random House, 2014.
Ellie comes home from school one day to find a teenage boy at her house. He looks like a teenager, but he’s dressed like her grandfather. It turns out that he is her grandfather, who’s done an experiment to reverse his own aging. Now Ellie’s mother makes him go to school with Ellie, while he’s trying to break back into his own lab so he can publish his groundbreaking research.

Even though the premise of this book is pure science fiction, what it brings out is a lot of relationship issues. Ellie has just lost her best friend due to shifting interests, and has to work to build new ones. Ellie’s mother and grandfather have always been in conflict over her theater work versus his scientific approach, and living together again brings this to a head. Ellie herself learns to appreciate her grandfather in a new way.

I keep wanting to say that the characters are “learning” such and such, and they are, but it’s the kind of learning that feels genuine and truly heartwarming, and there’s plenty of silliness mixed in as well. Even as Ellie’s mother and grandfather find science and art at odds, Holm pulls pieces from both to blend into a meaningful look at life. It’s also really nice to see Ellie getting more interested in doing science and learning about scientists herself. This is a really delightful book that feels like it will appeal most to fans of contemporary realistic fiction.

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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