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The Fourteenth Goldfish

(The Fourteenth Goldfish #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  16,532 ratings  ·  2,450 reviews
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 scien
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published 2014)
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Suzy The author of the book The Reinvention of Edison Thomas, Jacqueline Houtman, coined a term -- "sciency-fiction" -- to describe books like this. It…moreThe author of the book The Reinvention of Edison Thomas, Jacqueline Houtman, coined a term -- "sciency-fiction" -- to describe books like this. It weaves real information (in this case information about famous scientists and their work) into a great story for middle grade readers. I also loved that it raised moral and ethical questions about scientific discoveries.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,532 ratings  ·  2,450 reviews

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Rachel Reads Ravenously
3 stars!

Ellie is eleven years old, lives with her eccentric actress of a mom while her dad is a traveling actor. Ellie has just started the sixth grade, started middle school and is feeling overwhelmed and lost. One day her mother gets a call to pick up her grandfather from the police, and brings home a thirteen year old boy Melvin, who is actually her grandfather. Through a special jellyfish, Melvin developed a serum to reverse the aging process, and he used it on himself. Mentally a seventy
Want to raise kids who embrace curiosity, thrill in discovery, appreciate science, and care about ethics? Hand them this book. Warm, wise, and wonderfully accessible, The Fourteenth Goldfish is, on the surface, the entertaining story of an 11 year-old whose grandfather has found a way to reverse aging and is now forced to attend middle school alongside her. But dig a little deeper and you'll find this novel is a rich invitation for readers to explore and ponder big questions about the world and ...more
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am on vacation! This gem of an audiobook helped us pass three hours of our six hour trip and to say it was a sheer delight is understating it a bit. This was a very nearly perfect listening experience in that both my children and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The adorable story slips in a lot of information about important scientists and life-changing scientific discoveries all while keeping it light and quite funny. There is an underlying moral question that both of my children fully embraced, as ...more
Liesl Shurtliff
I drank this book up, goldfish and all. I loved it. Funny, quirky, and beautiful. This would be a perfect read-aloud. The grandpa is hilarious.
lucky little cat
Meh. I didn't find this as endlessly enchanting and heartwarming as other reviewers did.
she blinded me with science
To me, it read like the usual 21st-century slapped-together-in-a-hurry crap that typically gets packaged for middle grade readers as a skinny chapter book. Wow, the author says girls can be scientists, give 'er a medal.

About as deep and developed as your average Scooby-Doo episode.

keywords: I'll give you cranky; and we all know what happened to Mme Curie; of course he dresses like an old guy; maybe they ra
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
This book was awarded by NetGalley - I LOVED it!!!
I wish I had read this book while I was in middle school! I think it had EVERYTHING I would have wanted!
The way the Information was so gently handed to the reader, would have prompted me to find other books to further research the scientists, they were so well explained.
The family issues, and interactions were believable. Growing out of one relationship and into another as we all do, as the one between Ellie and her best friend and having divor
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grandfathers aren’t supposed to look like 13-year-olds, have acne and wear their hair in ponytail holders. But Ellie Cruz’s does—such is the premise of “The Fourteenth Goldfish” by Jennifer L. Holm, known too many because of her “Baby Mouse” and “Squish” series, and Newbery Honor awards.

Ellie’s granddad, Melvin Sagarsky, a scientist, has discovered the fountain of youth via a jellyfish compound called T. melvinus. Now the 76-year-old has a senior brain in a pubescent body. Madcap mayhem ensues
La La - Everyone's Crazy Aunt
I am giving this three stars, but it was more like 2 1/2. I admire the attempt at making the book a science showcasing story with a female MC, but the story also has to be entertaining, and it fell short in that department. The beginning of the book was great, but somewhere around 20% in it just dragged with too many setting details and unnecessary dialogue. I speed read a couple more chapters and then gave up. I did want to know how it all ended, so I read the last chapter and it was back to be ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-books
Maybe 2.5 stars? I really wanted to like this book but found the characters pretty flat. Ellie, an 11-year old girl, is in middle school and lost her best friend to volleyball. Ellie’s mother brings home a stray teenage boy, Melvin, (view spoiler) Melvin gets Ellie interested in famous scientists like Robert Oppenheimer, Isaac ...more
Jenn (One of Many, We are Legion)
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"Endings are sad....but beginnings are exciting."

This is one of those books I was invited to read via Netgalley. When I received the invitation, I did not realize this was a middle grade book, so that revelation was rather surprising. This was a cute book with lots of great messages for middle grade readers, but it definitely requires a great suspension of disbelief (probably much e
Tommeh Bell
The Nitty Gritty: Ellie's world is about to get sucker punched in the gut. First, her best friends runs off for greener pastures with the volleyball team, her father is off on a tour with his play company and her mother is a hipster looking for some fashion sense. If that isn't enough her grandfather is now a moody teenager.

Like most people Ellie doesn't like change, but her grandfather and more importantly her dearly departed goldfish, Goldie just might teach the middle schooler that change is
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fa


I really wanted to like this book. The person who recommended it to me is a very dear friend, and a wonderful soul. I tried so hard...

This is a children's book. I don't agree with it, but some people say allowances have to be made for that. In any case, if you decide to read it, keep that in mind.

Synopsis: Ellie is an 11 year-old girl with artistic parents who is currently suffering a break-up from her best friend, and doesn't like the change. One da

Rebecca McNutt
I haven't read such a creative middle-grade novel in some time. Teaching younger readers not only about science and heritage, but also about coping with change and loss, The Fourteenth Goldfish is a really remarkable story.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This almost felt too short. It started and ended quite abruptly and I was left wanting more. I see there’s a sequel so look forward to checking that out. I loved the science aspect of it and the family relationships and enjoyed the story, though. Read it on the recommendation of my 9-year-old.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Holy moly! We will be buzzing about The Fourteenth Goldfish in the fall.
Apr 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sách dễ thương, đọc 1 lèo trong 1 buổi tối. Nhưng không thích bằng mấy cuốn trước của Jennifer L. Holm.
Bài nhỏ của mình về cuốn này trên trang Đọc Sách:
Destinee Sutton
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
My thoughts upon finishing this:

1. This is like Rebecca Stead lite! And I mean that as a compliment! Stead's books explore themes in interesting and sophisticated ways. This explored a theme (the impacts of science on nature) on a bunch of levels in a way that is (probably) easier to grasp for most young readers. I'm very excited to talk to kids about this one.

2. Man, I love this idea of a teenage grandparent. So funny. There was something about it that was familiar to me, but I can't put my f
I liked this a lot more than I was expecting to. I had checked this title out because I just wanted something short for a couple of walks/runs.

I was reminded of "Flowers for Algernon" pretty early on in the story, but this book wasn't treading that same ground. Instead, this book covered a lot of different territories: growing old, losing friends and making new friends and the pain there, learning to live with one's parents' expectations, learning to accept one's child's differences and interest
Minh Trang
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Cuốn sách thiếu nhi với cốt truyện đơn giản, về một nhà khoa học và cô cháu gái cùng nhau nghiên cứu và phát triển một thứ thần dược giúp người ta trẻ mãi không già. Nhưng cuối cùng họ nhận ra, lớn lên rồi già đi là một quy luật tất yếu của cuộc đời, không thể can thiệp hay thay đổi, nếu như cố tình sẽ gây ra những hậu quả khôn lường.

Người ông của cô bé khi trở lại là một đứa trẻ tuổi 13 do thứ thuốc mình nghiên cứu đã gây rất nhiều phiền phức cho gia đình cô bé cũng như ngôi trường ông theo họ
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't like this book because it got really boring at the end.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two-second recap:

The Fourteenth Goldfish is a wonderful, funny tale on family, finding what you love in life and second chances. Readers both young and old, will undoubtedly appreciate Ellie's gradual discovery of her love of science, and her growing appreciation of family and friends in all ages and forms.


Full review:

I've been sitting on my review for The Fourteenth Goldfish for several months now, because I've been worried that I just can't do this book justice.

It's a wonderfully inve
Wart Hill
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can read this and other reviews at Things I Find While Shelving

[I received a free ARC of this book via NetGalley. This fact has no bearing on my review.]

Ellie’s life gets a little strange when a thirteen year old boy comes home with her mom and claims to be her grandfather. All evidence points to him telling the truth, and Ellie is whisked into the world of science and “discovering the possible” as she tries to help her grandfather retrieve the specimen that made his life’s work - reversing
Cathy Blackler
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holm has spun a beautiful little tale for readers of all ages that addresses family, growing pains, and the importance of belief in the possible. Science facts sure to entice curious readers are found throughout the novel. I love this simple, evocative story & found many connections with the familial relationships & Ellie's uncertainty about her future. A must read. THIS REVIEW COMES AS A RESULT OF READING AN ADVANCED READER'S COPY. MUCH THANKS TO THE RANDOM HOUSE REPS AT ALA14.
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked the breezy, no questions asked, way this book handled the central idea: that Ellie's grandfather had indeed found a way to turn himself young again. I loved how it tackled family relationships and the dynamics of middle school. I can why it's getting such great buzz. At times, though,it was almost too breezy. There are some big issues here, and would have liked more!
Lauren Waters
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked how quick this book read, and I liked the overall theme of appreciating and living life to its fullest. This is a great book for readers that enjoy science and characters that learn life lessons about getting older and discovering their true self.
THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH is a thoughtful, well-written middle grade book that touches on friendship, coming of age/aging, family, and science. Jenni will be at Avid on 8/28 at 4pm. She's best known for BABYMOUSE & SQUISH but her novels are just lovely.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one amazing book. My students will be addicted to it.
A wonderful story about life--growing up and growing old.
Dov Zeller
this book has some great comedy and a nice section in the back that goes into a tiny bit more detail about some of the science-related stuff from the novel. And the concept is sort of interesting. When eleven-year-old Ellie's grandfather discovers a way to 'reverse' aging he becomes a thirteen-ish-year-old boy. And then...not much happens except he gets in a lot of fights with his daughter, who's now sort of his mother. they bicker a lot. It's funny. But, it's not funny enough to carry the whole ...more
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Jennifer L. Holm is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling children's author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, PENNY FROM HEAVEN, and TURTLE IN PARADISE.

Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series -- the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. She is also the author of several other highly pra

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