Book Review: Life in a Fishbowl

I’ve spent most of the past week reading, and several of the best books I’ve read all year were those read over this weekend. Len Vlahos’ upcoming release Life in a Fishbowl was one such book, read in one sitting, with eye gritty at 1 a.m., but I simply had to finish it. It just bowled me over, it was that good. Take a look at this wonderful book, due to be released on January 3, 2017:


 Life in a Fishbowl 
 Len Vlahos  
 Juvenile Fiction  
 Bloomsbury USA Childrens  
 January 3, 2017  



Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone’s father is dying. When Jackie discovers that her father has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, her whole world starts to crumble. She can’t imagine how she’ll live without him . . . Then, in a desperate act to secure his family’s future, Jackie’s father does the unthinkable–he puts his life up for auction on eBay. Jackie can do nothing but watch and wait as an odd assortment of bidders, some with nefarious intentions, drive the price up higher. The fate of her entire family hangs in the balance. But no one can predict how the auction will finally end, or any of the very public fallout that ensues. Life as Jackie knows it is about to change forever . . .

In this brilliantly written tragicomedy told through multiple points of view–including Jackie’s dad’s tumor–acclaimed author Len Vlahos deftly explores what it really means to live.

“A weird, sardonic delight with the shape of an allegory and the heart of a joyful song.” –Brenna Yovanoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement

“Surprising, original, political, and deeply affecting . . . It is one of those rare works of art that keeps you guessing up to the very last page.” –Leila Sales, author of This Song Will Save Your Life

“It will tear you apart, and yet it’s an absolute joy.” –Adi Alsaid, author of Let’s Get Lost and Never, Always, Sometimes

Review of Life in a Fishbowl

The synopsis of the book fascinated me, but in all honestly, does not reflect all that this book is about.   But the Stone family does end up living in a “fishbowl”, with their lives on display, and that is where the story really goes from good to great.

There is so much to love about the story which could be macabre, given the brain tumor that sends the whole thing into action, but it isn’t. In many ways, Jared isn’t the focus of the book (although his glioblastoma takes on a life of its own – quite literally, and oh, what a delight – if  a brain tumor could be called such a thing.) No, the story spins around Jackie, the older of the Stone daughters, and it is her bravery, her action (and her friendship with a geeky Russian pen-pal named Max) who become true heroes as one can in the 21st century – on YouTube.

With an original premise, it is clever, heart wrenching and smart, and offers a sharp reflection on our voyeuristic leanings in this age of reality TV.   I just fell in love with this book. While it’s geared for 12-17 year olds, this not-17-year-old equally delighted in it.

I think you will too.

About the Author

Disclaimer: NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Childrens offered me an advanced reader copy for review, but all thoughts, opinions (and typos) are my own. This review contains affiliate links which help feed my coffee addiction and contributes to my hosting fees, but costs you nothing. Thanks.

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