Google+ Reading Teen: Book Review: Bluefish by Pat Schmatz

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Review: Bluefish by Pat Schmatz

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763653349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763653347 

Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he’s missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there’s just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when he’s called on to read out loud. But that’s before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn’t take "pass" for an answer—a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it’s before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own. With sympathy, humor, and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz brings to life a cast of utterly believable characters—and captures the moments of trust and connection that make all the difference.

My Review 

Out of the dozens of un-read ARC books on my bookshelf, for some reason, Bluefish was the book that stuck out to me a few days ago. I picked it up one night before going to bed… And had finished it by breakfast the next morning. I got very little sleep that night. This book was just so great. It literally left me speechless.

I will admit that Bluefish was one of the extremely rare books that made me cry. In fact, it was the second. The first was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. But, that’s beside the point. The point is that Bluefish was so beautifully written that there were parts that not only brought me to tears, but made me insanely happy. The description of the book gives very dramatic information about the main character – the fact that he has a secret. And it’s this secret that

The characters of this book were, very simply, authentic. By which I mean that I had no trouble at all imagining that these people were actually real. There was Bradley, who is a nerd. He loves video games, Halo specifically. He isn’t great athletically but he is insanely knowledgeable. The thing that makes Bradley so authentic is that none of this was over-done. He isn’t the cliché type of nerd seen in movies. He’s simply his own person. That’s what made him so believable. And there was Vita. She was given the nickname Velveeta in the second grade and stuck with it ever since. She’s this really outgoing girl, almost too outgoing. But the way she was written makes it not at all hard to (I seem to be repeating myself here) believe that this person could actually live in reality. And this is one of the things that amazes me about Bluefish.

Bluefish is an extremely recommended book for lovers of good reading material. I know, that's kind of a vague statement but it's true. This book was way out of my usual reading zone - no paranormal, no sci-fi fantasy, no mythology. I honestly cannot tell you why I decided to read this book that night. All I can say is that I am very glad that I did.

Marine (Burnie Burns, Church): Hey! Open up!
Voice (Joel Heyman, Caboose): What's the password?
Marine: Password? Oh man, I forgot.
Voice: Forgot... what?
Marine: I forgot the password.
Voice: See, that was almost right. Uh, see, the password begins with "I forgot", but ends differently. Um, try again.
Marine: No. I mean, I forgot the password.
Voice: No, okay, see, you - you got it wrong again. See, you said the same thing as last time.
[Brief pause]
Marine: *sigh* I'm being serious; I don't know the password!
Voice: No no no, see, you changed the first part. See, that - that part was the right part. See, now you've got the whole thing wrong!
Marine: No! I forgot what the password is and I just need you to open the door
[Brief Pause]
Voice: Alright, c'mon, man, now you're just guessing!


  1. Awesome review. Love the title, it stands out. :D

  2. Hey, thanks for the nice review. And thanks even more for posting Bradley's favorite "what's the password?" riff. So glad you liked the book...

  3. Only problem with this book is that the ending is so brief.


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