Grandpa Melvin? Is that you?


Sixth-grader Ellie (11) is your everyday tween going through friendship drama and every other part of growing up. However, there’s something different about her — her grandfather, who might have discovered the secret to living forever — has transformed into a teenage boy and is living with her. Now that Grandpa Melvin is living with them, Ellie not only has a chance to bond and learn from her grandfather but to learn more about his life as a scientist and conduct experiments. Can you top living forever? 

BTSYA / Teen Reader (13):
There really isn’t anything I disliked about the book. I got what I expected: a simple, lighthearted storyline with none of the complexity that would be expected in a longer book.

I like how the plot moves along smoothly. It has a satisfying amount of detail and information that add to but don’t slow down the story. Each character is equally interesting and full of unique personality. Typically, first-person narration is harder for me to enjoy, but this lively story was very fun to read.

There is a lot of room for thought after you finish reading, whether you are thinking about the newly acquired knowledge, the plot, or the ethics and decisions each character made. This would be an excellent gift for science lovers about middle school age.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers can't help but enjoy Ellie's story about living with a grandfather who has turned himself into a boy! Plenty of humor pulls readers into a story about relationships, science, and growing up.

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
This is a science fiction novel about family, growing up, and science.
Educational Themes:

The story creates great opportunities to introduce ethics, a concept that isn't always easy to convey.

  • What are the pros/cons (or right/wrong) of scientific discovery?
  • Can/should science be used for personal benefit?

On a character level, you can look at the choices they made and the motivations behind those choices to talk about how our experiences impact what we do. Then contrast that with the scientific process and talk about bias and possible ways to eliminate that in research/hypotheses/experiments.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 13
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. Told with humor and scattered full of scientific fact, Holm delivers an impressive and interesting science fiction novel that will appeal especially towards middle schoolers.

Title The Fourteenth Goldfish

The Fourteenth Goldfish, Book 1

Author Jennifer L. Holm
Publisher Yearling © 2016
ISBN 9780375871146
Material Paperback
Cost $7.99
Genres Family, Humor, Death and Loss, Science Fiction
be the star you are Cybils
Reminder: Cover images, and links are affiliate links. The Reading Tub can earn income via purchases made via these links. 100% of any income goes directly to our literacy mission.
Other Reviews:

You May Also Like...

Check out these books you may also like


B. B. Wurge


Obert Skye
be the star you are


The Great Wall of Lucy Wu

Author Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Publisher Scholastic Inc. © 2013 (Reprint Edition)
ISBN 9780545162166


Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D.
Elora Media © 2007
be the star you are


Tim Green
Harper, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2012