A Review of Lisa Thompson’s ‘The Goldfish Boy’.

Goldfish Boy

Scholastic £6.99

Scholastic says:

How do you solve a crime when you can hardly even go outside? A witty and heartfelt mystery starring a hero with severe OCD. When you spend most of your day trapped in your bedroom, staring out of the window, you don’t get to experience all that much. Kept prisoner by crippling OCD, Matthew sees the other folk of Chestnut Close go about their daily business. And that’s about it, really. He’s like a goldfish in a bowl. Until the day a little boy, Teddy, goes missing – and Matthew is the last person to see him…

  • A quirky, unusual mystery with an unforgettable hero
  • Captivating tale of fear, hope, friendship and loneliness
  • Ideal for fans of Wonder and The London Eye Mystery
  • “A genuinely clever mystery” – Robin Stevens


So what did I think?

I was at my local library when Mike Lowery‘s blue and orange cover instantly caught my eye and compelled me to pick up The Goldfish BoyFrom reading the blurb I was immediately intrigued about a young character with OCD, and liked the fact that friendship is a key theme.

Written in the third person, past tense, The Goldfish Boy immediately dunks us into Matthew’s goldfish bowl existence. Observing the world from his bedroom window, Matthew notices a lot of things going on in his street. As he’s missing school, Matthew has plenty of time to write notes on the comings and goings of his neighbours. Which comes in handy when the toddler, Teddy, from next door disappears.

Straight away we are propelled into a swirl of mysteries: why has Matthew become so anxious? Where is the missing toddler, Teddy? Why is Melody so keen to be friends? And what is her obsession with the graveyard? These mysteries ensure we keep turning the pages, and read on. As the mystery of Teddy’s disappearance unravels, so does the mystery about Matthew’s OCD, and how he can find some control over it, so that he can enjoy his favourite activities.

The Goldfish Boy portrays an unusual topic for 8-12s, which is a refreshing change, within the context of a domestic setting, so it is very accessible and compelling for independent readers. There are plenty of colourful characters, and we really get a powerful snapshot of the anxiety that Matthew feels and the daily battle he faces. It’s written in an easy-to-read style, making a satisfying read for young people.

It’s a great story, and a brilliant stimulus for discussion for Year 6s. And for teachers, there are resources here by Scholastic.

You can find out more about author Lisa Thompson in my interview here.

Happy Reading 🙂


4th May 2017

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