I liked The Fourteenth Goldfish and think kids will too. One day Ellie’s mom comes home with a long-haired 13-year-old kid, who turns out to be Ellie’s grandfather. He’s discovered a scientific way to reverse aging. Like any other responsible scientist, he tested it on himself. (Just like the scientist who turned into a lizard creature in “The Amazing Spider-man.”)
Ellie enjoys having her new “distant cousin” in the house, but her mother is less thrilled since her critical father keeps making negative comments about her wardrobe and life choices. You can think of this book as science fiction because the grandfather has invented a (thankfully nonexistent) scientific process to reverse aging and actually grows younger. Despite this element, the book also feels like realistic fiction as it explores family dynamics and life in middle school.
There has been a lot of buzz about The Fourteenth Goldfish. It’s been a popular choice on “Best of 2014” and “Mock Newbery” lists. The author Jennifer Holm managed to write about science, ethical dilemmas and family dynamics in a light, sometimes humorous way.