Review! The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

The Goldfish Boy
By Lisa Thompson
320 pages – ages 9+
Published by Scholastic Press on February 28, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Matthew 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?”

What I Thought- I think this was an excellent debut novel. Matthew is thoroughly developed, so that we as a reader feel that we sort of understand why he has germaphobic, agoraphobic, obsessive compulsive tendencies, even if we don’t get a clear picture until almost the end. It’s quite an insight into the mind of someone who middle-grade readers may not “meet” so often. One thing I thought was interesting was that Matthew understood he wasn’t thinking normally, but was unable to stop his thoughts and actions. The book focuses a lot on the inner turmoil of Matthew, and how he must face his fears to be able to help find the missing toddler. The actual plot and the mystery are solid, with lots of clues that keep you guessing as to who did the crime. Thompson has an incredible way of  writing that keeps you drawn into the story. I cannot wait to read what she comes up with next!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Categories: Age 9+

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13 replies

  1. It’s good to see a book that addresses OCD and similar issues.

    • It’s really interesting. I also like how it still keeps everything it talks about appropriate for middle schoolers – books like this, I think, can easily go much darker – but Ms. Thompson does a wonderful job of keeping it light.

  2. Great review! I’m adding a link to your post, credited with your review to my OCD book list:

  3. Powerful topic with a compelling mystery! Mom put it on her TBR list. I don’t have a TBR list, but if we ever get a goldfish, I plan to drink some water from his bowl.

    Love and licks,

  4. That’s why Matthew’s teacher bought him this book. Hand picked for his namesake. Sweet! He hasn’t finished reading it yet. Sounds really compelling.

  5. Holy crap. It’s “Rear Window” for middle schoolers! I must check this out.

  6. Super review – totally agree with all you wrote and subscribed. I loved this book so much – probably my favourite read of the whole of last year. What a debut! It made me cry so much because of so many factors (1) We had Matthew’s OCD condition and the reasons for it – and his personal journey was remarkable and so cleverly researched. As someone who has OCD (all be it very different to Matthew’s) I could certainly relate to his story (2) The revealing back story of his friends and the growth they all go on in the book and (3) The wonderful character of Old Nina. I read an interview with Lisa Thompson where she spoke about Old Nina being based on a character who lived in a cul-de-sac when she was growing up. It really moved on and it showed how our initial perceptions about people can be very wrong. And that’s before I even mention the super mystery in the book – the dissapearance of the young boy. I am so glad that someone enjoyed it as much as me and thanks for a lovely review

    • It truly was a fabulous book, and I look forward to what Ms. Thompson comes out with in the future, as this was a definite work of genius. Thank you for taking the time to comment and subscribe – I appreciate it all very much!


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