Pat Schmatz
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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,768 ratings  ·  286 reviews
This GoReader comes preloaded with 1 audiobook title: Bluefish. It sucks being with Grandpa in this new town. It sucks that they left the old place without finding Rosco. Travis doesnt want to do anything, especially try to get by in his classes, which never seems possible, anyway. Hes a Bluefish stupid, angry, alone. Then, suddenly, theres a girl. Velveeta. Shes up in his...more
Published January 1st 2012 by Scobre Press (first published September 13th 2011)
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LIBRARIAN REVIEW: It's not for everyone. Adults might be bored, unless they are trying to get into the mind of a school aged kid. It's aimed at a high school or middle school audience...or at teachers. It's a feel-good novel about hard luck and hard lives in the school years, which is pretty common these days. But, this book really captures the feel of being an outsider without screaming about the main characters being outsiders.

The great thing about this book...more
Steven R. McEvoy
Few books have as immediate an impact on me as this book. As someone who grew up with a learning disability, a dual form of dyslexia, reading this book was much like reliving some of my own childhood. Schmatz does an amazing job of capturing the feelings, emotions and immense frustration of having a learning disability and being different from other people. She captures the sense of being an outsider at school and the embarrassment of going out to special education classes. She also captures how...more
An outstanding story about working through grief and supporting one another.

Travis and Velveeta are memorable characters-- the kind of kids you fall in love with and root for...
This was actually a very good book, nice and enjoyable, a light read. Although it deals with some heavy issues, it doesn't do so in a way that choked me up in the way that other books have - which is not always a bad thing. The characters were likable, and even if Velveeta was a little extra quirky, I've known people like her and it only endeared her more to me. Overall, I liked it.
Patricia Powell
In Pat Schmatz’s “Bluefish” (Candlewick 2011), Travis, 13, has to move into town and live with Grandpa. Travis’ heart is broken over his lost hound, Roscoe. And school is painful.
Grandpa has stopped drinking, but Travis knows it won’t last.
The only bright spark in his life is classmate, Velveeta, who is the liveliest, flirtiest girl, who wears old lady scarves—different colors every day—with her hoody.
Velveeta inherited the scarves from Calvin, the old man who lived in the next trailer, the o...more
Reading Teen
Out of the dozens of un-read ARC books on my bookshelf, for some reason, Bluefish was the book that stuck out to me a few days ago. I picked it up one night before going to bed… And had finished it by breakfast the next morning. I got very little sleep that night. This book was just so great. It literally left me speechless.

I will admit that Bluefish was one of the extremely rare books that made me cry. In fact, it was the second. The first was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. But, that’s...more
Bluefish by Pat Schmatz is an understated contemporary novel. I haven’t actually seen any reviews for it so far, so it seems very under the radar, or at least it did until I checked goodreads and realized it doesn’t come out until September 13. However, we still see advance reviews for most books, and I really do think Bluefish is going to be one of those that will be under the radar.

Read the rest of my review here
I actually groaned when I turned a page near the end of the book and discovered it was the last page of the story. I fell in love with Travis, Velveeta and Bradley, loved all of the references to other books, and actually thought many of the loose ends added to the realness of the lives of the characters.
Maggie Desmond-O'Brien
Good YA is the balance between the artsy and the readable. Good YA is also the balance between the story teens need to hear, and the one they want to hear. Good YA requires a connection between author and reader perhaps more than in any other genre; a sort of telepathy, and loyalty. Bluefish is perhaps one of the most crystallized examples of good YA I have ever read, bringing to mind the classics by Judy Blume and Louis Sachar, the ones I read before I even knew what YA was.

We have a rural sett...more
Thank you to Candlewick Press and the Goodreads first reads giveaway for my copy of this book!

Travis seems to think he is a Seussian "bluefish" in more ways than he can shake a stick at. He's the new kid in town. He has a grandpa to raise him instead of two parents. His dog Roscoe has disappeared. Despite all of these facets of his life, when he enrolls in a new school, he meets a girl named Velveeta, or rather, Velveeta meets him. And thus begins a story of middle school friendship that's so mu...more
2. References to a book (The Book Thief) that you have to have read to get what's going on.
4. Didn't love the way the story was told switching between third and first person in a weird, weird way.
5. I don't want anyone to take this the wrong way because I love library representations in kids books. However, I feel as if sometimes in books, kids find the library and then find themselves/change their life there WAY more o...more
Nicole Politi
“You know how sometimes you don’t know something is stupid until it falls out of your mouth and then it’s too late?”
Travis didn’t have an answer for that one, since he usually kept his stupid thoughts in his own head (p 57-8).

One fish. Two fish. Red fish. Travis. The stupid bluefish. In a new town, Travis hopes to escape his label, but he doesn’t expect to. His Grandpa, a recently recovered alcoholic, is difficult to live with. There’s not much Travis cares about now his dog Rosco is missing. Th...more
I read this book for a middle school-level Literary Devices class. I thought it was great at the beginning—we were only allowed to read 6 chapters a week to be able to discuss it, and a lot of my classmates finished it before they were supposed to. They just couldn't help it. It is a really addicting book. However, towards the end, I became a bit disappointed, which is the reason I give it four stars instead of five. The main contributor to my disappointment is the fact that the book really does...more
In many respects, this book is a tribute to teachers who refuse to give up on the kids who pass through their classrooms, no matter how difficult the challenges. McQueen is the caring teacher who realizes that thirteen-year-old Travis has a secret--he is able to read only the simplest words--and creates a tutorial program that helps him gain confidence and improve his reading skills. While McQueen is not the main character in the book, he is an important one, of course, and those teachers among...more
Sharon Medina
The story about a young boy in 8th grade name Travis has to overcome several negative events within his life. He not only loses his mother at a young age but also his dad. He then has to live with his dad's father who is an alcoholic and doesn't seem to know how to be a father figure to Travis.
In the begining of the story Travis and his grandfather has to move to a different house in another town. Before the move his dog Rosco goes missing and then end up leaving without him. This makes Travis v...more
Monica Edinger
I agree with those who are calling this a "quiet" book. Because I can't figure out how, I'm not able to rate it and I'm not going to do plot here (you can find that in other reviews here, I'm sure). What I will do is mull a bit about it.

First of all one aspect of the book's quiet is due to the main character Travis who is incredibly silent on the surface though steaming underneath for many good reasons we learn as the book goes on. There are some lovely scenes through which we get to know Travis...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dawn Allbee
This is an awesome book! The main characters are Travis and Velveta. They meet at school and both have had traumatic events take place in their lives at about the same time. The book follows Travis with sporatic "letters" Velveta is writing to a deceased friend. It is amazing how the story shows how each character views the same incidents differently and how they are coping with the chaotic life they are living. It deals with the fallout of having alcoholic parents/guardians and how having an ou...more
Travis and Velveeta are both outsiders at their middle school. When they first encounter each other, each of them is privately grieving a major loss and has a secret or two to keep hidden. This short, poignant friendship story is about how these two 8th graders come to slowly trust each other, learn from each other and ultimately gain confidence in themselves. Themes include dealing with alcoholism and parental neglect, illiteracy, the healing power of books and literature, the influence of cari...more
Arthur Pengerbil
Grades 5+

You probably learned to read in kindergarten or first grade, maybe even sooner. Maybe it's a little hard for you, maybe it got easier as you read more and more, maybe you can't stop reading.

But you did learn to read - good at it or not, loving it or not.

For Travis, that never happened. From kindergarten until seventh grade, he never let anyone see that he couldn't read - and no one knew - not even his teachers. When Travis and his grandpa move to a new town, and he begins at a new scho...more
I find myself not reading enough realistic fiction so I picked up this newer book in the library. I really enjoyed it and may or may not have cried during it. Travis is in a new town with his crusty grandpa and missing his best friend, Roscoe (his dog) who has disappeared. He starts at a new school where he feels like a bluefish (the name he was given because he was in a low reading group as a kid). He meets Velveeta, a free spirited girl who is hiding her trailer park existence at school. One o...more
Christine Lively
Everyone has something to hide and deciding to 'come out', ask for help, or admit the problem doesn't usually happen because of one key moment in your life where everything changes. That's the truth that "Bluefish" honors. Three Middle School kids: Travis, Velveeta and Bradley all have problems in their lives and so do the people around them. The tiny gestures, overtures, and slow building of trust that Schmatz allows to happen in the book really shows how friends are made and lives are changed....more
Olivia Dorsey
I really like this book but the climax was not as exciting as I expected it to be. I really liked how Travis learned how to read and how he finally open up to velvita and relate to her! Travis could never really open up to grandpa but at the end of the story Travis could open up to him and velvita.
It only made me cry a smidge, but it did. Excellent book. The characters felt real and sometimes raw.
Rina Giorgio
The book "Bluefish" is relatable to most struggling teens. In Bluefish a teen boy must move to a new school and make friends. He then meets a girl Velveeta and they relate with each other about their similar life struggles. In this story Travis is helped by his english teacher and the book he is reading.
I gave Bluefish a 4 star rating because its a great book but some parts were difficult to understand because they didnt quite go with the rest of the story. But otherwise the book was great and...more
Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he’s missing his dog, Rosco. Now there’s just the cramped place he shares with his alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the bad routine of school. But that’s when Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn’t take no for an answer a teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it’s before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose Fighting and colorful scarves some hard secrets of her own. With feel bad,...more
Susan Koukis
Emily- you will love this- Stacy and Katie- you too.
All Travis wanted was to survive the school year. Not make any friends or pass his classes with flying colors: just survive. The one thing he had learned was not to expect much from anyone. His parents died long ago and his grandfather is barely there. Even his dog disappeared before the move. He knew that his life would be awful and he had almost even accepted it. But this year life would surprise Travis. This year Travis's secrets will be revealed, and for good or for bad it will change his l...more
Reviewed at:

This is one of those books that makes me proud to be a teacher. Students like Travis is the reasons why I became a teacher and I hope that I am a teacher like Mr. McQueen who ultimately changes Travis's life. And not only is this book a love story to good teachers, it is a love story to books and the written word. But it is also about grief and family and fitting in. I think the quotes below will really show you the power of this book:

Keri (The Book Pirate)
One fish. Two fish. Red fish. Blue fish. As a teacher, I find that a cute and witty name for groups in a classroom. Just like any other creative name to keep track of the groups. But never would I have thought of using them as names for kids in certain reading levels. That is just too easy of a way to segregate students and it's down right harsh.

I can see how Travis links his deficiency to the name of a title of a Dr. Seuss favorite. That label has stayed with him throughout his school hopping n...more
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Growing up in rural Wisconsin, Pat's passions were reading, basketball, and the woods. She lived in Michigan, California, and Minnesota before landing back in central Wisconsin. She still travels whenever she can, from Japan to Rhode Island to Vancouver to New Zealand, and anyplace she can get in between.

When she's not traveling, Pat does administrative work for the Legal Aid Society of Minneapoli...more
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“I couldn't eat because that book made me cry so hard, I couldn't even breathe. Connie said to keep reading and keep breathing, like that was easy. Tears and snot just about came out my butt, I cried so hard” 3 likes
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