Paperback, Scholastic, £6.99, out now
When a visiting toddler from next door goes missing, 12 year old Matthew tries to solve the case. He has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and spends a lot of time looking out of his window as it’s hard for him to leave his room… but can he start to overcome his illness and find out what has happened?
This is a convincing and engrossing mystery story which I’d recommend for older readers (if the reader is OK with a missing child storyline, I reckon they should be OK with the book). Excellent YA mysteries like Gene Kemp’s Juniper and Rosa Guy’s The Disappearance made me a mystery fan for life, and I think this book will do the same for readers now (another Juniper fan reviews it here – http://awfullybigreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/juniper-by-gene-kemp-reviewed-by-ellen.html). It’s a little slow to start but worth sticking with.
Goldfish Boy is also a kind and creative treatment of OCD, including how treatment works, and has received positive reviews from some people with OCD (see http://www.abeautifulchaos.co.uk/2016/12/the-goldfish-boy-mental-health-book.html). Thompson thanks OCD-UK for their help and the quality of her research and empathy show, particularly in her illustration of how OCD can affect families and the painful and distressing nature of the illness (http://www.ocduk.org/ocd). It has triggered comparisons with Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and may find some readers in common. I can definitely recommend it anyone, adult or child, in search of an intriguing quick read.
Review by Bethan