The Fourteenth Goldfish

The Fourteenth Goldfish

by Jennifer L. Holm


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Believe in the possible . . . with this New York Times bestseller by three-time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer L. Holm. A perfect read about a child's relationship with her grandfather!
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 scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this gawky teenager really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?
With a lighthearted touch and plenty of humor, Jennifer Holm celebrates the wonder of science and explores fascinating questions about life and death, family and friendship, immortality . . . and possibility. Look for EXCLUSIVE NEW MATERIAL in the paperback—including Ellie’s gallery of scientists and other STEM-appropriate features.

And don’t miss the much-anticipated sequel, The Third Mushroom!
“Warm, witty, and wise.” —The New York Times
* “Written in a clean, crisp style, with lively dialogue and wit, this highly accessible novel will find a ready audience.” —Booklist, Starred
* “Top-notch middle-grade fiction.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
* “Ellie’s memorable journey into the world of science will inspire readers to explore the world around them and celebrate the possible.” —Shelf Awareness, Starred
“Awesomely strange and startlingly true-to-life. It makes you wonder what’s possible.” —Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal–winning author of When You Reach Me

25 STATE AWARD LISTS including the Sunshine State!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375871146
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 21,285
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

JENNIFER L. HOLM’s father was a pediatrician and she grew up listening to him talk about the wonder of antibiotics and how science could change the world. Today Jennifer is the New York Times bestselling author of three Newbery Honor books, as well as the co-creator of the Babymouse series (an Eisner Award Winner) and the Squish series, both of which she collaborates on with her brother, Matthew Holm. Find out more about her by visiting and look for her on Twitter at @jenniholm.

Read an Excerpt


When I was in preschool, I had a teacher named Starlily. She wore rainbow tie-dyed dresses and was always bringing in cookies that were made with granola and flax and had no taste.

Starlily taught us to sit still at snack time, sneeze into our elbows, and not eat the Play-Doh (which most kids seemed to think was optional). Then one day, she sent all of us home with a goldfish. She got them at ten for a dollar at a pet store. She gave our parents a lecture before sending us off.

"The goldfish will teach your child about the cycle of life." She explained, "Goldfish don't last very long."

I took my goldfish home and named it Goldie like every other kid in the world who thought they were being original. But it turned out that Goldie was kind of original.

Because Goldie didn't die.

Even after all my classmates' fish had gone to the great fishbowl in the sky, Goldie was still alive. Still alive when I started kindergarten. Still alive in first grade. Still alive in second grade and third and fourth. Then finally, last year in fifth grade, I went into the kitchen one morning and saw my fish floating upside down in the bowl.

My mom groaned when I told her.

"He didn't last very long," she said.

"What are you talking about?" I asked. "He lasted seven years!"

She gave me a smile and said, "Ellie, that wasn't the original Goldie. The first fish only lasted two weeks. When he died, I bought another one and put him in the bowl. There've been a lot of fish over the years."

"What number was this one?"

"Unlucky thirteen," she said with a wry look.

"They were all unlucky," I pointed out.

We gave Goldie Thirteen a toilet-bowl funeral and I asked my mom if we could get a dog.

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