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Literature / The Fourteenth Goldfish

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"The Fourteenth Goldfish" is a book by Jennifer L. Holm.

Ellie Cruz is not in a good place right now. She misses fifth grade, she misses her old best friend, and she's had to say goodbye to the thirteenth goldfish she's owned. She lives with her actress mom in a small house, and her father is always on the move in his own acting career.

Then, one day, a strange teenage boy comes to live with her, something her mom doesn't seem too happy about. What makes him so strange is this boy seems to share a lot of similarities with her grandfather, Melvin, who was always obsessed with immortality. He's bossy, he's cranky, and he seems to wear clothes that would be more appropriate for an old man.


That's because this teenage boy IS her grandfather.

Apparently, an associate of his discovered a new species of jellyfish and sent it to him. Melvin had been researching the regenerative properties of deep sea creatures, and decided to utilize an extraction of the jellyfish, which he calls "T. Melvinus", and creates a serum that he tested on himself, which caused him to revert to the body that he's in now.

So, Ellie now has to adjust to having her young-again grandfather living with her, and the impact he has on her worldview.

The book was published on August 26th, 2014.


The Fourteenth Goldfish contains examples of:

  • Fountain of Youth: The T. Melvinus jellyfish is this for Melvin, as he used an extract from it in a serum to revert his body from 75 years old to 13 years old.
  • Immortality Inducer: The serum Melvin made turned him back into a teenager (physically, anyway).
  • Immortality Seeker: Melvin, which is why he was researching the regenerative properties of certain creatures.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Ellie with her grandfather, Melvin, in the time that he spends living with her.
  • The Lost Lenore: Melvin's deceased wife, who he misses dearly.
  • Parental Issues: Ellie's mom doesn't get along with Melvin, who often derided her artistic passion when she was growing up, and continues to do so in the present. As a result, the two often argued.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Melvin tested his regeneration serum on himself, which is why he now has the body of a teenager.
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  • Title Drop: Ellie makes one at the end of the book regarding her grandfather.


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