Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson [Intermediate fiction]

The Goldfish Boy
By Lisa Thompson
Scholastic Press, 2017
ISBN 9781338053920

Matthew has OCD issues and spends most of his life upstairs in his bedroom, looking out over the neighbours in their dead-end street. He has a number of coping mechanisms - he cleans incessantly, and scrubs his hands until they are sore and bleeding. He also counts, with a particular worry about number ten-plus-three. 

When his neighbour Mr Charles, brings his grandchildren, Casey, the eldest, and Teddy. When they see Matthew in the window of his bedroom Casey starts calling him 'goldfish boy'. One day Matthew sees Teddy in the front garden touching the roses. That's the last time anyone sees Teddy, the little boy has disappeared without a trace.

Matthew does have one ally, Melody, who knows Matthew from school, and comes knocking on the door asking for help. In spite of knowing the problems he has with going outside, Melody actually gets him out the door. They have suspicions about who might have taken Teddy and start investigating themselves.

This was a great mixture of seeing into the life of Matthew, with his many issues, and a really good mystery. The street is full of interesting, diverse characters we get to know as the novel progresses. But it's Goldfish Boy himself, who is the teller of the story, who is the star.
11+.

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