Review: The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

piranha stars turquoise 5“Gorgeous and heartbreaking”

About the Book:

Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac.

When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child’s life… but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?

Cover of Lisa Thompson's The Goldfish Boy

Review by Katy Haye:

This was a lovely, quietly powerful read. Matty was a gorgeous and heartbreaking character but all the children were fabulous – demonstrating how eccentric and varied “normality” is. The interwoven stories of Matty’s illness, family heartbreak from years earlier, and the wider narrative of the disappearance of Teddy from next door worked together beautifully.

I’m sure this book will become best known for dealing very well with OCD, which is a “hot” issue right now, and its strength, I feel, lies in the fact that it doesn’t over-simplify the condition. Matty is aware, at times, of how ridiculous and unnecessary his behaviour is – but that doesn’t mean he can stop it. And it ends positively, but not gibly. Matty is moving in the right direction, but there’s no doubt that a long road lies ahead.

There is no higher praise I can give a book than when it engages my primal emotions. The Goldfish Boy did. I cried. Good, cathartic tears, and plenty of them.

Highly recommended.

More to read

If you like this, try Holly Bourne’s Am I Normal Yet, or Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

Katy Haye is reading her way through the alphabet during the first half of 2017. Check back next week for her review of her “H” read. When not reading, she writes fantasy and post-apocalyptic novels for YA readers. Her new release, Discord, is now available.

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3 Responses to Review: The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

  1. VERY much on my ‘to read’ list! Thanks – you’ve confirmed that this will be my kind of book.


  2. Great review. This is my favourite book of 2017 so far. It broke my heart at times. great debut. Can’t wait to see what Lisa Thompson writes next.


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