Life in a Fishbowl (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

This is a story about losing a loved one to a brain tumor, about the ethics of reality TV, about euthanasia, about murderers and nuns and gamers. It's also about 15-year-old Jackie, who's living out the horror and confusion of watching her father's decline in front of a million TV viewers every night. The book explores the messy pros and cons of anonymity versus putting yourself out there. Although it's categorized as YA, the book has crossover appeal, as readers take a turn in the mind of every character—including the tumor itself, which provides some of the story's funniest and most moving chapters. Like most reality shows, it's got a great cast of characters, and like most reality shows, you'll find it hard to peel yourself away. — From Emmy's Picks (page 2)


Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone's father is dying.

When Jackie discovers that her father has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, her whole world starts to crumble. She can't imagine how she'll live without him . . .

Then, in a desperate act to secure his family's future, Jackie's father does the unthinkable--he puts his life up for auction on eBay. Jackie can do nothing but watch and wait as an odd assortment of bidders, some with nefarious intentions, drive the price up higher. The fate of her entire family hangs in the balance.

But no one can predict how the auction will finally end, or any of the very public fallout that ensues. Life as Jackie knows it is about to change forever . . .

In this brilliantly written tragicomedy told through multiple points of view--including Jackie's dad's tumor--acclaimed author Len Vlahos deftly explores what it really means to live.

"A weird, sardonic delight with the shape of an allegory and the heart of a joyful song."
--Brenna Yovanoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement

"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 and Never, Always, Sometimes

About the Author

Len Vlahos dropped out of NYU film school in the mid '80s 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.

Praise For…

"Vlahos captures both the worst and best of society . . . Numerous laugh-out-loud moments and beautifully drawn characters make for a powerful journey that will leave a lasting imprint on readers." - starred review, Publishers Weekly

"Compelling and complex . . . A thought-provoking, moving story with wicked humor and madcap action." - VOYA

"An unsettling rumination on the spectacle of tragedy." - Kirkus Reviews

"Vlahos artfully blends the whimsical and the poignant . . . An achingly funny satire that will appeal more to . . . sophisticated teens." - School Library Journal

"Vlahos successfully (and with vicious humor) takes . . . chances: telling some of the story from the perspective of the tumor; dealing with questions about the sanctity of life; and exposing the toll cancer takes on both patient and loved ones . . . Bold, biting fare often so dark you sometimes want to look away. But you can’t." - starred review, Booklist

"A multifaceted send-up of contemporary cultural life and values regarding the right to die and the spectacle of personal tragedy. . . . The narrative structure and tone compel interest, humor, judgment, and righteous anger, and readers will be left with much to discuss." - BCCB

"A weird, sardonic delight with the shape of an allegory and the heart of a joyful song." - Brenna Yovanoff, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of THE REPLACEMENT

"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 and NEVER, ALWAYS, SOMETIMES

"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

"A wry, stylish tale." - The New York Times Sunday Book Review on THE SCAR BOYS

"Distinguished in every way." - starred review, School Library Journal on THE SCAR BOYS

"Etches its way onto the heart and leaves a mark." - Kirkus Reviews on THE SCAR BOYS

Product Details
ISBN: 9781681190358
ISBN-10: 1681190354
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2017
Pages: 336
Language: English