The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Published by Scholastic

Summary:  12-year-old Matthew almost never leaves the house due to his incapacitating OCD.  Petrified of germs, he spends most of the day in his room, watching his neighbors and taking notes on their comings and goings.  So when a little boy disappears from his grandfather’s front yard, it turns out Matthew was the last person to see him.  He decides he is going to solve the mystery.  Reluctantly at first, he enlists the help of Jake and Melody, two kids from his grade who live in the neighborhood.  As the story unfolds, the reader gradually learns of Matthew’s guilt over his own baby brother’s death, and how this has led him to choose his sterile, lonely existence.  By the end of the book, the case has been solved, Matthew has made a couple of new friends, and he is beginning to take the first steps toward recovery.  320 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  A suspenseful mystery, told with understated humor in Matthew’s British voice.  Readers will empathize with Matthew’s seemingly strange behavior, and cheer him on as he starts to uncover the demons that have plagued him for much of his life.

Cons:  I cringed at the scenes where Matthew washed his hands until they cracked and bled.

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