Tuesday, June 16, 2020

My Life In The Fish Tank by Barbara Dee - Great Middle School Read


From acclaimed author of Maybe He Just Likes You and Halfway Normal comes a powerful and moving story of learning how to grow, change, and survive.

When twelve-year-old Zinnia Manning’s older brother Gabriel is diagnosed with a mental illness, the family’s world is turned upside down. Mom and Dad want Zinny, her sixteen-year-old sister, Scarlett, and her eight-year-old brother, Aiden, to keep Gabriel’s condition “private”—and to Zinny that sounds the same as “secret.” Which means she can’t talk about it to her two best friends, who don’t understand why Zinny keeps pushing them away, turning everything into a joke.

It also means she can’t talk about it during Lunch Club, a group run by the school guidance counselor. How did Zinny get stuck in this weird club, anyway? She certainly doesn’t have anything in common with these kids—and even if she did, she’d never betray her family’s secret.

The only good thing about school is science class, where cool teacher Ms. Molina has them doing experiments on crayfish. And when Zinny has the chance to attend a dream marine biology camp for the summer, she doesn’t know what to do. How can Zinny move forward when Gabriel—and, really, her whole family—still needs her help?

Just finished My Life In The Fish Tank by Barbara Dee - Great book! Perfect Middle School Reader book about a middle schooler named Zinnia whose brother’s mental illness (Bipolar) changes the life of her whole family.  I loved that although the storyline was deep and dark the writer stayed away from dark tones and although the whole family was going through this, the kids were kids. Dealing with friendships new and old, assignments, great teachers, etc. It was written from a child’s prospective as her and her family move through this situation. 

Zinnia is told to keep the facts of her brother’s illness a secret not because the parents are embarrassed but to give him privacy. This forces her to lie to her best friends which causes her to feel uncomfortable around them. This also means she isn’t getting the help she needs from her peers or teachers even when invited to a therapy club during lunch. She feels odd and different.  Hello, sounds like middle school even when your family isn’t going through something. 

I think this is a great read about a complex situation, handled by an amazing author. LOVED IT and cannot wait to read more of her work.

Find this on shelves this September.

Pre-Order here

Disclaimer: I received an uncorrected reviewer copy for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation as offered. 

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