Life in a Fishbowl (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

When Jackie Stone learned that her father had a brain tumor, reporters were already clamoring outside her doorway, desperate to meet the man who was auctioning away his life on eBay. In fact, almost the whole world was captivated by the story, eager to understand exactly why Jared Stone would do such a thing. The world didn’t need to wait long. A relentless reality TV Show executive bought her father’s life. Now, cameras watch her family’s every move, in a morbid show known as Life or Death, where Jackie’s most personal moments are broadcasted to millions of viewers. But Jackie isn’t having it. No matter the consequences, she’s determined to put an end to the twisted show, and save her family’s relationship before her father is gone forever.

This book is a whirlwind of unfailing honesty on what it truly means to be alive in today’s society, wrapped in a heartrending message about how family will always be there for you, no matter what.

— Caylin, TC Teen Advisory Board, Parker, CO

When 15 year old Jackie Stone’s beloved father is diagnosed with a brain tumor, Jackie is devasted. When her father auctions his life on eBay and her father’s life is turned into a reality TV show in which Jackie is a supporting character, shy and introverted Jackie must rebel to save her father’s dignity and right to choose when he dies. This surprisingly funny book features an eclectic cast of characters, each one as interesting as the next. Life in a Fishbowl’s messages of family, standing up for what you believe in, and the manipulation of the media will resonate with the reader long after finishing the book.

— Caitlin, Tattered Cover Teen Advisory Board member

Life in a Fishbowl details the life of Jackie Stone after her father is diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor and sells his life on eBay to provide for his family after his inevitable death. This book is fuIl of unexpected twists and turns, and a tearjerker ending that is unforgettable. This book would be perfect for all young adult readers, especially those who like an active plot line. Vlahos' Life in a Fishbowl is enjoyable from cover to cover! 

— Lexie, Tattered Cover Teen Advisory Board member


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