Becoming a member of the LoveReading4Kids community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...

Find out more

Life in a Fishbowl

Written by Len Vlahos

Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 13+ readers General Fiction Humorous Recommended Children's eBooks

LoveReading View on Life in a Fishbowl

In a Nutshell: Love, loss, reality TV and the real value of life  |  Powerful novel exploring the turmoil that arises when a dying dad sells the last months of his life to a reality TV show.

Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is an introvert who lives in anonymity online and “loved her father. She loved him a lot”. Of course, Jackie is utterly devastated when her dad, Jared, announces that he’s been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and only has a few months to live. But, rather than dwelling on his own demise, Jared’s worries are for his family. He knows they won’t survive on his wife’s income alone, so he decides to auction off his life. Among the hotchpotch of people who bid is egotistical TV executive Ethan Overbee, who knows a hit show when he sees one. And so, for a big fee, the family’s home is taken over by cameras, their every move – and Jared’s decline - broadcast to millions across the nation.

While the novel confronts big ethical issues head-on, there’s also plenty of humour and action (the grippingly madcap plot involves a psycho billionaire boy, a fame-hungry Internet-addicted nun and Jackie’s supportive Russian friend from an online forum). Ultimately, though, this is a novel about the importance of memories, and doing the right thing by loved ones. “Love,” according to Jackie’s mom, “can make us weak-kneed and wobbly, but when it needs to, it can make us stronger than steel”. Heartbreaking, life-affirming and highly recommended for fans of Jandy Nelson, John Green and Jennifer Niven. ~ Joanne Owen


Life in a Fishbowl Synopsis

Jackie's life wasn't perfect, but at least it was normal. That is, until her dad received a terminal cancer diagnosis. Then he went and did what anyone faced with mountains of medical bills and a family to support would do: he sold his life to the highest bidder. Which turned out to be a TV station. Suddenly everyone from psychotic millionaires to cyber-savvy nuns wants a piece of Jackie's family as they become a reality TV sensation. Jackie's life spirals out of control just as her dad's starts to run out, and meanwhile the whole world is tuning in to watch her family fall apart...

Life in a Fishbowl Reader Reviews

Teens & YA's love to read and so in addition to the review by one of the Lovereading4kids editorial experts some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel members were also lucky enough to read and review this title. Click here to read their full reviews.

  • Aimee Sweet, age 15 - ‘When starting this novel I was unaware of just how original it was going to be. Fast paced and unexpected, Life In A Fishbowl is an incredibly moving book.'
  • Megan Abbott, age 18 - ‘Absolutely amazing! Whilst reading this book, I undertook a mix of turbulent emotions; one minute crying and the next laughing.’
  • Melanie Chadwick - ‘A very moving and also funny book about grief, death and how to live. This is a book that raises some big questions; should assisted suicide be legal, what is the value of dignity, does social media always bring out the worst in people, is society too obsessed with celebrity and should people in the public eye have a right to privacy?’
  • Khadijah Ahmed - ‘The concept of this book is certainly very interesting and tackles some serious questions about life and death, which is great for discussions. However the style and execution fell short for me.’
  • Destiny Maraj - 'Life In A Fishbowl was totally original and extremely moving.'
  • Sophia Ufton - 'This is amazing book and a wonderful story. Hope there will be more from this author.'

Life in a Fishbowl Press Reviews

Surprising, original, political, and deeply affecting... It is one of those rare works of art that keeps you guessing up to the very last page. Leila Sales, author of This Song Will Save Your Life

It will tear you apart, and yet it's an absolute joy. Adi Alsaid, author of Let's Get Lost

Vlahos balances a precarious, heartbreaking, and wholly 21st-century premise with a compulsively readable and well-plotted story. Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Once again, Vlahos strikes all the right chords... You know these people and you want to know what happens to them beyond the story. Paul Hanson, General Manager at Village Books in Bellingham, WA

Len Vlahos has pulled off a brilliant exploration of intimacy in modern society... [H]umorous, while being poignant and haunting at the same time. Allison Hill, CEO of Vroman's Bookstore and Book Soup in Southern California

Praise for Scar Boys:

A wry, stylish tale. The New York Times Sunday Book Review

Distinguished in every way. -- starred review School Library Journal

Etches its way onto the heart and leaves a mark. Kirkus Reviews

If you loved this, you might like these...

Chloe Snow's Diary: Confessions of a High School Disaster
Just Another Little Lie
Cinderella Is Dead
The Enigma Game

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781408870631
Publication date: 12/01/2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781408870631
Publication date: 12th January 2017
Author: Len Vlahos
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 336 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, General Fiction, Humorous
Recommendations: eBooks, Reviewed by Children

About Len Vlahos

Len Vlahos dropped out of NYU film school in the mid Eighties to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies, a punk-pop four piece that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records. After the band broke up, he followed his other passion, books. He is the author of The Scar Boys, a William C. Morris Award finalist and a #1 Indie Next pick, and Scar Girl, the book's sequel. Len lives in Denver with his wife and two young sons, where he owns the Tattered Cover Book Store. 

More About Len Vlahos

More Books By Len Vlahos

Cover for Scar Boys by Len Vlahos
View All Books By Len Vlahos

Share this book