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Life in a Fishbowl
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Life in a Fishbowl

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,461 ratings  ·  318 reviews
Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.

Gone is her mom's attention and cooking and parent-teacher confere
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Bloomsbury
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,461 ratings  ·  318 reviews

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Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: love-the-cover, 2017
After reading all the negative reviews this book has here in Goodreads i wasn't sure if i want to buy it or not.The story seemed interesting to me and i decided to give it a try despite all the hate.The beautiful bulgarian cover helped a lot in making that decision (even though at first i was a little angry that they changed the original cover with the house inside a fishbow).I expected someting boring and lame but it was the complete opposite.The story grabbed my attention from the first page a ...more
Kelly Hager
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jared Stone has a brain tumor, a glioblastima multiforme. It will kill him (in four months or less) and leave his wife and two daughters destitute. The Breaking Bad option is out and so he does the next best thing: he agrees to participate in a reality show. The world will get to watch him die (and his family deal with this) and in exchange, they get $5 million. This may seem pretty callous, but (as he points out) he's going to die anyway.

This is a brilliant and fascinating idea but it works so
Odette Brethouwer
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I received an ARC from the Dutch translation of this book, (thanks Karakter Uitgevers!) hence the Dutch review. For English, see below.

Wat is dit een prachtboek. Een van de bijzonderste boeken die ik dit jaar heb gelezen.

Jared heeft een hersentumor. Ik vind dat deze tumor heel bijzonder omschreven is. Het is heel uniek, zo heb ik nog nooit gelezen over kanker. Deze manier van vertellen erover zorgt ervoor dat ik me beter voor kan stellen wat voor effect dat een hersentumor op je zijn kan hebben
Trigger warnings: parent dying of cancer, bullying, mentions of grown ass men having sex with teenage girls, mentions of grown ass men watching 13 and 15 year old girls shower, (view spoiler).

1.5 stars.

Okay, let's start with the most important thing about this book. There's a dog in the story. If you want to know what happens to the dog, click here: (view spoiler)
joey (thoughts and afterthoughts)
Life in a Fishbowl is what I would imagine satire in YA to be: relevant, straight-shooting, and reasonably cathartic. With so many of us being obsessively Team Internet without knowing it, Life chooses to spotlight trashy reality television (e.g. Big Brother) without shitting on the actual format that has surely brought viewers hours of joy -- because people watching is always interesting.

It's a story told through a handful of perspectives (weaving in-and-out with just an "* *" asterisk break),
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-own
When I saw this book at ALA, I didn't really think much of it. But when I read the synopsis, I thought this book sounded so cool. As a reality TV junky, I could not wait to see how this girl went through a reality show documenting her dad dying from cancer.

Jackie Stone's life is turned upside down the moment she learns her father has cancer. To try to save the family, her father auctions his life off to the highest bidder and their family finds themselves the center of a new reality show follow
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I’ll give it to you upfront: I did not like “Life in a Fishbowl.” I did appreciate the writing and the use of some unique points-of-view.

There were a lot of voices in the book, with many being in the same chapter. It became confusing at points, but the voices were distinct and well-written. I found the parts written about the thoughts of the tumor itself to be unique and engaging. In fact, those were the only sections that genuinely made me feel like I was reading a book about cancer that handle
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Jared Stone is dying and has found out he only has about four months to live. Worried about his family’s financial future when he’s gone, Stone signs up for a reality TV show where cameras can follow him and his family’s lives until he dies.

This was a really interesting premise and for the most part I think it lived up to what I thought it was going to be. The story combines the heart
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

This book has so much of everything that I love packed inside. Multifaceted and engaging characters? Check. Morally complicated situations? Check. Family dynamics, humor amidst tragedy, and an eerily plausible situation... yep, they're here too. There are quite a few POVs, but it works. I didn't get super connected to any one character, but I don't think that was the point. Of course
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clare Snow
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Clare by: Dymocks Bookshop
So that was weird.
"There was only one way the American Television Network was leaving the Stone house, and that was over his dead body."

I was confused by a lot in Life in a Fishbowl but I couldn't stop laughing, so that's a yes from me. Read it and weep (tears of laughter).
"Ethan also knew that denying Jared medical care would be tantamount to murder, and while that would make for good television, it wouldn't resonate with the sponsors."

So many of my Goodreads friends gave it 1 star or DNF. I un
When Jackie's father discovers that he's dying of a brain tumor, he decides he needs to find a way to provide for his family. In his muddled state, he decides it would be a good idea to auction his life to the highest bidder, which turns out to be a tv station who want to run a reality show about his final days. The intrusion of cameras and crew is immense, but Jackie finds a way to show the true story of what is happening to the world, with a bit of help from some online friends. This is a trul ...more
Jan 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Please read reaview in its entirety at
Promoted as a tragicomedy, Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos is heavy on the tragic, and unfortunately for this reviewer, missed the funny bone on the comedy.

What is even more disappointing, and why I feel so let down with this particular novel, is that the promotional jacket is so appealing – a teenage girl, Jackie, is not only dealing with the fact that her dad has a terminal brain tumor, but that her family's advers
Grace (The Reading Raindoe)
I was intrigued enough by the synopsis to request a copy of this book. As someone essentially born at the same time as the reality television movement, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were already very close to seeing this seemingly outlandish premise play out in the real world. Due to that, I was curious to read this book and see how it worked out in this fictional world.

Impressively enough, this book somehow already seemed a bit dated despite not releasing until January 2017. There’s talk of Mea
Mandy Radley
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Human Life For Sale" forty five year old man with four months to live is selling his life to the highest bidder. You may do with him as you please - slavery, murder, torture, or just pleasant conversation. A human life, yours to control, yours to own. Buyers must live in the state or country with a law allowing assisted suicides, and the buyer bears the cost of transportation and tax. There is a reserve for this auction."

Jared Stone has just been diagnosed with a brain tumour and realises there
Aimal (Bookshelves & Paperbacks)
When Jared Stone is diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme cancer and given a few months to live, he finds himself in a predicament. He’s not scared that he’s going to die, but he’s scared that he’ll leave behind a wife and two daughters with very little financial security. When he comes up with the ingenious plan to auction his life on eBay, giving people who bid at least $100,000 the opportunity to do whatever the hell they want with him, people start paying attention to him. From a nun who th ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, reviewed
2016 was the year I discovered reality television. The years before, I would catch some episodes of My Kitchen Rules, MasterChef, and The Bachelor/ette but never really stayed, having barely any attachment to the characters. Last year, though, I started watching these things from the very start and very quickly got sucked in. I rooted for my favourite contestants and ‘boo’-ed those I didn’t like. I sat glued to the TV, scrolling through the relevant Twitter hashtag. I was, put simply, obsessed — ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
I am not normally one to say overly negative things about books (at least i think i am not!) and i don't want to come across as mean or as if i am personally attacking the author -because i am not. BUT i am not happy with this book and how the topic of a serious illness was handled in this book. So i am sharing that option. If you can't handle that? Read a different review!

This book was horrible!

If you ever lost anyone at all to any kind of illness?
STAY FAR - FAR, FAR, FAR- AWAY from this book
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This book, man. I don't know. It took me FOREVER to get into it, and then i got really into it, and then...the ending just seemed abrupt, and left me kinda cold. I really identified with Jackie and loved the story of how she found community online, how "if you look hard enough, there are other people out there like you." So the little throwaway narrative about what happens to Hazel at the end feels disingenuous and, honestly, a little sad. Overall: creative, ambitious, uneven, confusing. ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Well, that was not quite what I expected. If I really enjoyed the idea behind this story and some of the messages it carried through its characters, there were too many different POV and not enough depth in each for me to grow bonds and care enough about everything, which makes me a bit sad. This book was so promising but it failed a bit to meet the expectations I had while reading this lovely synopsis :/
Full review coming soon :)
Izzy H
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A character in the book is Jackie she is brave. She is brave in one part of the book someone had taped a piece of paper on her locker that was about her dad that was selling him self on ebay as she was brave at school.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sequoyah-2018
Omigosh, I love this book.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Very mixed feelings about this book.
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of this book or author before a friend recommends it to me. In the world we live in today pretty much everything has been turned in to a reality T.V show. Laid bare for the masses to digest and dispose of at there pleasure so why not turn death into the ultimate t.v experience. It was a notion that sounded like a troubling concept to me. How could you take something so deeply human and personal and allow others to devour it like such hungry beasts for the experience and someth ...more
Katie Lister
Aug 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Would you trade your freedom, privacy and sanity for a reality tv show? What if you had a brain tumor and in your muddled state, sold your life to a greedy businessman in exchange for 5 million dollars? This is the exact situation Jared Stone faces in Len Vlahos "Life in a Fishbowl." Told in the multiple perspectives, such as Jared's daughter Jackie, a greedy nun, a WoW gamer girl, an arrogant nun, a physcopath wanting to recreate the Hunger Games, and even the brain tumor itself, the Stone fami ...more
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
i chose this book because I'd enjoyed Scar Boys by the same author. This one is also a good one. Jared Stone has a brain tumour. In order to ensure the financial security of his wife and daughters he agrees to have his last months turned into a reality television show.

The daughters, especially Jackie, are well drawn characters. Despite the bleak subject matter, the story has plenty of humour, mainly in the strange behaviours of the various characters who take an obsessive interest in Jared's de
My rating is really somewhere between 2 and 4. The reality show sabotage was fun. The Breaking Bad premise I'm not so sure about. I have actually had a relative die of brain cancer in a matter of weeks, and I wonder what information the author based the tumor pov (yes, that's a thing). I've also had a friend have to decide to end life support for her spouse, and I'm wondering about how the author chose to write the dramatic ending. Also, the fact that I'm about to shelf this under "realistic fic ...more
Chares Hetrelezis
An interesting book that was easy to read. Follows the story of a man dealing with a terminal brain tumour and his family - along with many other characters that subsequently get involved in his life.

A really interesting book that covers topics of death, religion, mass media, and euthanasia.

A really interesting way of writing as it provides the perspective of the tumour itself.

However, due to the fact that it was written in the third person for every character I felt it was a bit difficult to
Shari Wiemer
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I had high expectations that this book would be one that I would enjoy and could share with my 12 year old daughter. They weren't met. The story line was okay, but there were ridiculous side stories that were totally unnecessary other than to meet the minimum page requirement the author must have had. For example, the tumor is a character in the book - a stupid side story that is totally annoying. I won't be recommending the book to my daughter or my friends. ...more
Emmaby Barton Grace
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not sure why this book has so many poor reviews - it's an amazing read and I couldn't put it down - even if it was just written from solely Jackie's point of view it would have been a good read however the multiple narratives add a complexity to the story that makes it a greater read. While I wish there had been more from Jared's point of view while he was in a more lucid state, the book is great, albeit sad, and would recommend to all. ...more
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I dropped out of NYU film school in the mid 80s to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies. We were a punk-pop four piece -- think R.E.M. meets the Ramones -- that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records.

The band broke up in 1987 and I followed my other passion, books. I've worked in the book industry ever since.

And, of course, I

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