Friday, 21 April 2017

The Goldfish Boy

Author: Lisa Thompson
Genre: Children (Middle School), Mystery
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 313
Source: Local Public Library
Publisher: Scholastic Press
First Published: February 28, 2017
First Line: "Mr. Charles had sunburn right on the top of his head."

Book Description from GoodReadsMatthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn't been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac. 

When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child's life... but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My ReviewLike a goldfish in a bowl 12-year-old Matthew Corbin sits in the second story windows of his house and witnesses life going on around him. He is unable to wander far or often from his home-bound world due to the paralyzing effects of his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

At the heart of the book is a mystery involving a missing toddler, with Matthew being the last person to see the child. Matthew lives on a small cul-de-sac which is also home to a group of interesting and diverse characters. Readers become privy to many of the characters' stories and secrets as the mystery of the missing toddler unfolds and everyone begins to look like a suspect.

Thompson has written engaging and well-rounded characters and Matthew is an easy kid to like. He's a regular kid with extraordinary burdens to bare. Thompson provides her readers with enough of a description of OCD for them to understand without inundating them with too many facts. She describes Matthew's daily struggles to live within the confines of his OCD, his triggers and how these compulsions influence his life and the lives of his loved ones. His struggle to balance his compulsions with the need to find the missing toddler was handled well and felt believable. He has a couple of quirky sidekicks, who are also in the outer fringes of the tween social spectrum, but it was heartening to see how these three 'misfits' gain confidence and support from one another.

While this book is a mystery, it also has a lot of heart as it deals with several issues. Readers will feel for Matthew as people misinterpret his OCD behaviours as well as his parents who struggle to understand and deal with their child's perplexing behaviours. Other issues, such as bullying, social effects of food allergies and loss, are handled with sympathy, knowledge and heart.

I simply loved this book. Whether you're looking for a mystery, a peek into a young life with OCD or a group of characters that will stay with you, this book has something for everyone. 


Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine. said...

This sounds fabulous. I just added it to my Goodreads want-to-read list. I don't really read much middle grade fiction but I probably should and book looks like a great place to start.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

I really enjoyed it. I don't read a lot of Jr fiction but I'm trying to. Now that my kids don't read Junior fic I have a harder time doing reader's advisory at work. This was a good mystery. Hope you like it!

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