Read Bluefish by Pat Schmatz Online

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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 alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of school. 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 natuTravis 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 alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of school. 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....

Title : Bluefish
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780763653347
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 226 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bluefish Reviews

  • Lanica
    2019-02-03 13:04

    PERSONAL REVIEW: I LOVED this book!LIBRARIAN REVIEW: It's not for everyone. Adults might be bored, unless they are trying to get into the mind of a school aged kid. It's aimed at a high school or middle school audience...or at teachers. It's a feel-good novel about hard luck and hard lives in the school years, which is pretty common these days. But, this book really captures the feel of being an outsider without screaming about the main characters being outsiders. The great thing about this book is that we watch each of the characters live through their own problems without realizing that everyone else has problems, too. It's so 'real'. Kids don't often see what's going on in the lives of anyone else but themselves, and that is the point to this book. Look around...everyone has problems. You're not alone, even when you are completely alone.There is no sex, no drugs, no rock & roll. Just three kids living life as it comes at them. It's safe for all ages, and I would recommend it for any school library, book club, or reading list. Also, I listened to this book on audio and the narration was exceptional.

  • Rebecca
    2019-02-13 11:50

    Actual Rating: 2.75Read this review and more on my blogIn a nutshell: Bluefish is a quick read about life, friendship and words. It was not necessarily a bad book but it's not an extraordinary one either. I was drawn to Bluefish when I found out that it features my all-time favourite book, The Book Thief. Mentions to books I love within other books is one of the small things that makes me happy. Other reviews led me to believe that The Book Thief played a larger role than it actually did, though it is mentioned on several occasions. The Book Thief is read by one of the protagonists and each mention made me smile. The references were relevant to Bluefish and its characters, though I think people who have yet to read The Book Thief would struggle to fully appreciate them.Yet there was more to Bluefish than a nod to my favourite book, of course. It's a Young Adult (or maybe Middle Grade?) contemporary novel that is told from two perspectives, mostly Travis'. Travis is a quiet and angry boy who is living with his alcoholic Grandfather, and he misses both his old home in the countryside and his pet dog. At his new school, he is noticed by a bubbly girl Velveeta, as well as a persistent teacher - McQueen - who encourages Travis to read and discover words. For a few pages at the end of each chapter, the perspective shifts to Velveeta, and I found her to be a more interesting character overall. I would have preferred to read more from her. While she was perhaps a bit too much sometimes, out of all of the characters, I felt the most for her. I also liked their teacher, McQueen, and their other friend, Bradley. In general the characters did have a certain authenticity to them, but I did not necessarily have many strong feelings for anyone. I wish that the book was longer so the characters and their relationships could have been developed more.I appreciated the themes in the novel, including learning, friendship and belonging. My favourite element of the story was connected to reading. The protagonist has a learning disability and Bluefish follows him as McQueen helps him to read. I particularly liked the comparisons that were drawn to Travis and Liesel (from The Book Thief) by Velveeta as well as the friendship between Travis and Velveeta - 'I want us to be friends like Liesel and Rudy in The Book Thief'. I liked the tone of Bluefish - though it deals with serious themes, the story had a somewhat light tone.Bluefish was not necessarily a bad novel, though I was personally underwhelmed by it and lacked an emotional connection to the characters. The writing style was a simple one and there were nice quotes. It was simply an okay read, though I did appreciate certain themes within it. It was a quick and easy read, and one that will perhaps speak to younger readers more.

  • Steven R. McEvoy
    2019-02-11 11:55

    Few books have as immediate an impact on me as this book. As someone who grew up with a learning disability, a dual form of dyslexia, reading this book was much like reliving some of my own childhood. Schmatz does an amazing job of capturing the feelings, emotions and immense frustration of having a learning disability and being different from other people. She captures the sense of being an outsider at school and the embarrassment of going out to special education classes. She also captures how that frustration can lead to physical outbursts as it often seems like the only outlet available.Our cast of characters includes Travis, a young man with anger issues, and a learning disability who is living with a recovering alcoholic grandfather; Mr. McQueen, who is more than just a teacher, but also an educator; he knows how to reach students that others give up on. He is the type of teacher we all need at one point or another in our life, who really connects with us. And the immensely enjoyable Velveeta, a young woman in the special education class also who is an outsider but one with a big heart.As these characters and their stories start to intertwine, we have a story that unmasks us as readers. With such strong believable characters this story is driven both by the action and the silences between the characters. As Travis and Velveeta begin to trust each other, they make a connection to one another, and that connection is the beginning of their own process of growth and healing. This book was an amazing read, and I know that it is one I will read over and over again.Schmatz has written a book that should become a classic in Children's literature. It should really be required reading for all middle school children to help them see the people and world around them differently. This book was so amazing that I bought and read two other of Pat Schmatz's books in under a week. Get it! It will not disappoint....Read the review and with links to other reviews of books by the authors on my blog Book Reviews and More. And also an author profile and interview with Pat Schmatz.

  • Donalyn
    2019-01-30 10:47

    An outstanding story about working through grief and supporting one another. Travis and Velveeta are memorable characters-- the kind of kids you fall in love with and root for...

  • Jazmin Arroyo
    2019-01-24 06:51

    Iamgine how it would feel not to be able to read at your days of adolecensece. I am going to tell you all about the book Bluefish as you can see. The genre of the book bluefish is realistic fiction. What I really thought about this book was that it had alot of emotion and was a roller coaster of events because at times the characters had sorrowness in their life.A teens life is not going well while living whith his grandpa in a little town in Wisconsin IL. The setting affects the story by Travis being even more upset because he misses the place he grew up in and the lifestyle and memories over there. Also dealing with a mysterious loss of his beloved dog and is really not taking it well. Travis now at a new school and reallly isnt having much fun learning. Until he met an amizing girl named Velveeta. She is an open book with secrets of her own, she really cares about Travis and figures out one of his darkest secrets. She didnt have an easy time uncovoring them but she didnt give up any time soon she also had some help from a teacher named Mr. McQueen. His life turns completly around with help. Travis is against fate we will figure out if he wins the battle. The common theme of this story is family and friendship Travis had many issues dealing with family including his grandpas alcohol problem and dealing with relizing who is he really able to trust and dealing emotianol problems with Velveeta.The third person point of view affects the story by not telling every little thought of Travis. At points in the story there is first person point view showing the emotions and thoughts of Velveeta and Velveeta is the one writing. In this book I knew for sure that one motivation that Travis had to learn how to read was Velveeta and her personality because she would always help him in the library like the time she was so satisfied when Travis learned twenty words to read in one afternoon. The title of the book relates to the book by him always telling himself he would always just be a dumb bluefish and just be doubting himself and not believing in himself. In this paragraph I am going to tell you my opinion on this book. I was moved when knowing Travis's grandpa was reaally trying to change for him and he justy denied it until he relized he needed to try to things straight with his grandpa because at that moment Travis was blind with much negativity in his life he didnt realize something positive. An interesting thing In this story that it dosent matter how bad life gets you have to have a couple people that you can rely on because in this case he Travis had no one but had two people Bradley and Velveeta to go to if he ever needed help. I liked how the author made this story happy at times and derpessing at times because it made me get hooked on the whole plot and at the edge of my seat all the time. In conclusion, I rate this book four stars because it was really good but I think it couldve had a little bit more at the ending. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dramatic bboks. Anyone who likes alot of plot twists in their stories I recommend this to you. I want you guys to do one more thing imagine how the life of young Travis.

  • Julian Martinez
    2019-02-01 08:46

    Imagine you live a life where both your parents died and your dog too, now you live with your grandpa and your starting a new life would you want to live that life. Well I definitely wouldn't because my life is already good as it is so that's why I wouldn't. The genre of this book is realistic fiction I known this because the things and the situations that happen in the book sounded like events that would occur in a actual persons life.***WARNING the following book review may contain spoilers you have been warned***. This book takes place in a town that the main character Travis now lives in sense he moved from his home in the fields. Travis at the beginning of the story is very mad at his grandpa for making him move from his old home, but as the story progresses he makes friends named Velveeta and Bradley that help him through out the story. Travis is a very kind person like ***SPOILER ALERT*** saves Bradley from kids that were bulling him at the park and when he agrees to go to Bradley's anti-dance. The type of conflict in the story is person vs. self I know this because Travis has a hard time letting go at the fact that his dog is dead he doesn't really care that his parents are dead he cares about his dog Rosco. Theme of the story is be kind to the people around you I know this because Travis was kind throughout the story helping people in need like when Bradley was getting bullied and he made friends such as Velveeta and Bradley. The title relates to the book because Travis said that kids at his old school called him a "Bluefish" due to him not being like every one else. A major event that changed the character is when his dog Rosco died throughout the story he keeps on saying "It was my fault i've should have taken him to the swamp and he wouldn't be dead"he stopped talking as much as he use to once his dog died. The author builds tension/suspense by making Travis and Velveeta argue at certain points in the story this shows that they use to not be very good friends but then later on in the story they become very very good friends. The character I identify with the most is Travis because we both aren't very talkative when it come to a lot of things also we both are great at making friends. I like the way the author added the arguments between Velveeta and Travis because instead of being like other authors and not making people argue and making the them all friendly, but that isn't reality. My favorite part was when Travis helped Bradley get away from the people that where bulling him at the park this shows how selfless Travis can be even though he doesn't like to show it. I've rated the book four stars because I would like the story to be a little bit longer so we the reader can enjoy the story much more than we did with the pages we originally had. I recommend this book to people that like realistic fiction and people that love enjoyable stories. I hope that reading this book review thinking why might people are non talkative or act different than they use to because they might have something going on in there lives.

  • Gina
    2019-02-06 12:52

    This was actually a very good book, nice and enjoyable, a light read. Although it deals with some heavy issues, it doesn't do so in a way that choked me up in the way that other books have - which is not always a bad thing. The characters were likable, and even if Velveeta was a little extra quirky, I've known people like her and it only endeared her more to me. Overall, I liked it.

  • Nicolas
    2019-02-07 11:58

    Blue fish Blue fish, a book written by Pat Schmatz is about a kid called Travis that lives with his grandpa that moves from his home without his dog Roscoe. Travis never learned how to read and he is currently now in 8th grade, he moved to an unknown place where he met Velveeta. A young girl that is full of secrets that's determined to find out with a teacher named Mr McQueen what Travis is hiding from everybody else. Overall the book is mediocre in my opinion it's very boring and honestly it's bad at the beginning, but as the book goes on it gets better and it was enough for me to actually finish the book. I think that the book was very repetitive so that's definitely a reason for someone not to read it. During the book it repeats a certain thing, it repeats that Travis doesn't care about school at all. On page 17 there is a couple sentences that imply it “Someone behind them whistled, and Velveeta turned. A couple of girls in the back corner whispered and almost fell giggling.”see those girls, they write for the people magazine and they've spotted us as the smoking-hot eighth grade romance”Travis knew why they were giggling and it wasn't about octuplets. One of them had corrected his science paper the day before”. This states that Travis isn't a very studious guy in fact he doesn't even care. But these type of things get repetitive while he's in school. Another example of this is that When he's in McQueen's class McQueen helps him read by circling words in a book that he doesn't know and making lists that help him. In my opinion it's a good book because it relates a lot to the reader in some ways. For example when I was reading the book it really stood out how travis was in 8th grade and didn't know how to read. But that didn't stop him from learning since he wasn't exactly the school genius with great grades. I remember reading a similar book but I can't remember the exact name of the book but it was about an adult that never received an education and how his life. was because of that. And blue fish demonstrated how a good teacher like Mcqueen can influence your life. And i believe that the this is a very good thing and as a result the book sort of teaches it. Another one of my critiques in the novel is that the language that Travis and Velveeta use is not the language and the actions that someone in eighth grade would do or say. For example it mentions in the book that travis gets challenged a lot by others like on page 19 "Travis looked closely measuring them. They must be high schoolers. He hadn't seen them in the halls, and they were his age or a bit older. The two smaller guys he could take, no problem" this states that Travis's way to solve a conflict is violently. And sure maybe some 8th graders solve conflicts like that too but it's not the only time where travis gets close or even into a fight. Another example of this would be when Travis sees that Bradley was getting picked on by some high schoolers and he stood up and nearly fought them. And that is why I believe that this book's characters don't act according to their age. Overall i think that it was a pretty good book but its not extraordinary because it had some major flaws that I have mentioned in the paragraphs above and therefore would rate this a 3 star book review taking the fact that it was an inspiring book. And would recommend it to anyone willing to read it.

  • Alfredo Valdez
    2019-02-02 12:50

    Imagine if you had to start everything over again, new school, new friends, new teachers, new everything. Well in this book "Bluefish" a 13 year old boy named Travis has to leave everything behind and start a new life in a new town with his alcoholic grandfather. The genre of this book is realistic fiction because it contains events that can happen at any time. Both of Travis' parents died before the story started. His mother died first and then his father crashed into a tree. That's not all his dog Rosco also died. Travis was alone with no friends and family except his grandfather who was "forced" to take care of him.The setting of the town was mostly in a small village that was NOT named in the story. The school that Travis attended was also a major setting to the story. The setting added to the theme because the weather would add more effect for like example when Travis was sad there would be freezing cold water dropping on him. Travis would also occasionally would take a stride along the forest which he couldn't do if he lived in the city. The setting has a very large roll and impact in the story. What happens in the story is that Travis moves from his old loved town into a new and unknown town. Travis is not happy about the transition of towns because he had everything in his old home. On the first day of school while Travis was opening his locker he heard something crash on the locker next to his head. It sent a jolt to his head. When he recovered he found the shoe owner he gave it back, it was a small nerdy looking kid with a bundle of braces. When Travis was younger he ditched school and Grandpa would come pick him up and tickle him and then would take him back. Travis decided to do this again and this time Grandpa was not the same. He states " I don't have time to leave work and come pick you up." Travis responds by saying "So don't" .Later when Travis was back in school, when he goes to lunch he sits on a empty table, then a girl that goes by the name of Velvetta comes and sits down. After they had a conversation she said she was sitting with him because he gave back the shoe. After Velvetta and Travis became good friends she starts to question his identify like in a playful way. While this is happening Travis is having issues with his Grandpa at his densed and small house. Velvetta is a curious girl who writes to Calvin her dead friend/babysitter. She almost always goes inside his trailer to watch movies as they used to do together. Then one day Calvins daughter kicks Velvetta out the trailer and locks the door so Velvetta couldn't wear the scarfs he let her borrow. Back in School Travis is learning to read by circling words of unknown words with Mr. McQueen before school. This is a big secret for Travis that he does not want to share with anyone. At the end of the story Travis finds out that Grandpa was the one who killed Rosco by running over him in the driveway. He claims that " I was backing up and he in the middle of the driveway with his lazyass not moving.(sorry for the swaring) I did not see him". This is what caused them to move so Travis won't find out. Then Travis invites Velvetta to come with him and Grandpa to the gravesite. When they get there Travis practices his ideas with Velvetta because she found out about the secret and that's were the story ends. The type of conflict is person vs society because he goes against more than 1 people. The theme of the story is that something small can cause something so big. In this case since Rosco was killed Travis had to start a brand new life.The third person point of view affects the story because it shows everything. The narrator does say his opinions, he says exactly what he sees and the characters in the story say. The book is in 3rd person because it is a person looking from above down at what is happening in the book. The title of the book relates to the story because in this case a bluefish means "dumbness". In the story it states " Grandpa was right, I am a stupid **bluefish**." Travis refers himself as a bluefish a number of times throughout the story which shows somewhat of negativity. The narrator is reliable because he does not say anything suspicious about the characters and setting. The author also says everything that happens nothing is left out so, the author is reliable. A major event that changed a character was when Grandpa admitted that he killed Rosco on a accident. Before this Grandpa was a unresponsible, selfish,and a complete jerk to Travis, and also the fact that he smoked cigarettes daily. After he admitted his dirty reads his changed completely. He started caring a lot motor of Travis and stopped drinking and smoking. He cared more about his grandsons education which was the opposite of him in the beginning and middle part of the story. My favorite part of the story was at the end when Travis and Velvetta go to the place were Rosco was buried by Grandpa and they study the words that Travis circled with Velvetta and read part of the book. I like this part so much because he is happy in the end which ALMOST brought me to tears, but i didn't because that would be weird. I also liked the way that Grandpa changed into a better person and supportive of his grandson and sometimes even humorous. I can relate myself to Bradley because I have braces and I always seem to annoy people when I'm just trying to ask a question or say something, the only thing is that I am not smart and spoiled like Bradley. My least favorite part was when Velvetta got kicked out of Calvin's trailer by Calvins daughter. I do not like this part because Velvetta had been going inside that trailer for weeks now and the daughter barely comes to lock the trailer and keep Velvetta out from her Dads trailer. Yes she's trespassing property but she's not doing anything bad right? This part had a big impact on the story.I would give this book a 5 out of 5 because it is one of the best books I have ever read. Everything fits in perfectly to the plot. I'm not lying when I say that I recommend this book to anyone! This book is that AMAZING!

  • Elena Mills
    2019-02-13 11:43

    This was a curious book. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't very exciting. It was a pretty good story line, but there wasn't really a theme, or a moral or anything. It was still good though.

  • Brandon Santiago
    2019-01-21 06:53

    ***Spoiler Alert*** Imagine if you had to be transferred to a new school with new people and new teachers and also living in a new town. Well the Genre of this book is realistic fiction . the book overall is really great because you get to see how a boy is dealing with being at a new school .There was a boy who was named Travis and he had to move in with his Grandpa in a new town .Travis hated the idea because when they left he didn't want to do anything with school and how he had to try to get to classes. But before all that Travis used to skip school but after he skipped school once more and when that happend they had to bring the sheriff to help find him but they did find him and he was told by his Grandpa that if he "ditched school again ,the dog would sleep outside" and therefore he never skipped school again . but as Travis went to school he came upon a girl at lunch named Velveeta , and as they were gonna eat their lunch she asked what was his story and Travis replied "no story" and so Velveeta was all up in his life story trying to figure out his background story but she couldn't do it . But at school we meet a teacher named McQueen and he is trying to help out Travis in school . But then after school we hear more about Travis's grandpa and that he stopped drinking but still smokes . so as the days,weeks, and months go by we see that Travis wants to learn how to read and McQueen was glad to accept the offer . but after that Travis found out he had Leukemia and that's when Velveeta kept it a secret . but now Velveeta is wondering if he really does have leukemia but also thinks that the fight they had in the library pushed away his will to live . but later on we here that grandpa killed Rosco (their dog) and after that he wouldn't talk to and listen to grandpa.But he then forgave him and decided to go back home .But then grandpa started to take Travis and Velveeta somewhere and Velveeta didn't know were and grandpa dropped them both off at an old place . so Travis and Velveeta went inside a blue prius and started driving in it . so they drive all the way to Bradley's place for a party . But in the end he saw a bluefish in a wave and as he put his hand down the water skimming and diving was a bluefish. So the title of the story relates to the book because if you use the word blue fish to describe a person it says -Stupid , Angry , and Alone , and so if you look at Travis he was a blue fish but not for long . The author builds suspense to the story because you basically don't know when someone is gonna get bad news for the reader .A major event that changed the character was when Rosco died , because Travis was going through a tough time when that happend .the setting of this book is important to the theme. because the setting takes place at his Grandpa's house and at school and other places. but it shows how he could be a Blue fish and not a blue fish . I was moved by the ending of the story because in the end everything was fine for him and he was able to just hang out with the people he was friends with .I was satisfied with the way how the author brought up the story and the characters and how he add a nice story line with it . An interesting thing I learned from this book was that the word blue fish , when I heard I thought many things but when I saw the back of this book I saw that the author included "He's a Bluefish --- Stupid , Angry , Alone " it finally calmed my head down at ease .I thought the ending of the book was great because the way how the author brought up a Bluefish in the end and have Travis grab one was great . I rate this book 5 stars because like I said it was a great story line and a lot of things happend here and there and overall it was great . I would recommend this book to the people who had to move somewhere new in life and who went to new school's.Imagine if you had to go to a new school and be called a Bluefish?

  • Yanely Martinez
    2019-01-29 10:56

    Imagine moving somewhere far away from home and you could never go back, starting at a new school, a new life, and there was no way out. I'm going to be telling you about this book called Bluefish. The genre of this book is realistic fiction. This book was upsetting bet yet so fascinating. This boy did not really have the best life he could have had better. You will see how his friends try helping him out.The setting of the book took place in Wisconsin IL. Travis wanted so bad to move back to his old place. He thought It sucks here moving to a new town with an alcoholic grandpa and leaving the old place without finding his dog named Rosco. Then suddenly there's this girl he meets at school named Velveeta and shes all up on him and shes not backing down. She is as loud as he is quiet and shes smart, smart enough to figure out that Travis has a secret and she is determine to find out. She should know because she has many secrets of her own and she gets their teacher Mr.McQueen to help her find out his deepest secrets. They are both trying to prove that Travis is more then just a bluefish. The conflict of this book is person vs. society because Travis thinks he is a bluefish because he thinks he's always being stupid,angry, and alone, and no one really talks to him but Velveeta. I think the theme of this book is basically pain and friendship because he goes through a whole lot of pain at the beginning but yet Velveeta and Mr.McQueen help him out at the end.The title of the book relates to the story because Travis is a bluefish he is always stupid, angry, and alone. The setting adds to the conflict because Travis and his grandpa moved and it brought a lot of problems to Travis because he missed his old place and they left without finding his dog. The author builds tension at the end of the book by saying grandpa didn't come home all night and Travis was worried he didn't get any sleep and when he woke up he smelled the smell of alcohol and he got up in a hurry and his grandpa was sitting outside his door, I thought it brought a lot of tension because Travis was worried and stayed up all night. Another theme that recurs throughout the book is caring. This theme can be seen when Velveeta is trying to take out Travis"s deepest secrets and is trying to get her teacher to help her out to make his life better. My favorite part was when Velveeta sat with Travis every day at school because it's showing you that she's actually not backing down. I was shocked when grandpa didn't show up that night because he's usually always in the house and drinking or working. The character I identified the most was Velveeta because she always wrote these letters to a dead person saying "What should I do?" She knew the person was gone but yet she still kept writing letters and tried helping out Travis without no ones help besides Mr.McQueen. I rate this book a 10 because the boy had problems with his life and a girl he barely met cared about him so much and decided to help him out. I would recommend this book to a person who has gone through something similar to this. Would you ever want to be Travis and go through his life?

  • Shayne Bauer
    2019-02-09 10:41

    Maybe a 3.5. This one is cute, and it gives a nice glimpse into the lives of several youngsters who are harboring very different secrets. Their lives merge into a unique friendship which emphasizes the importance of acceptance. There is one (literal) jaw-dropping, OMG moment--and I thoroughly enjoyed it because I did not see it coming. I will recommend this book to both male and female students, as I can see them enjoying it even more than I did.

  • Patricia Powell
    2019-01-18 10:40

    In Pat Schmatz’s “Bluefish” (Candlewick 2011), Travis, 13, has to move into town and live with Grandpa. Travis’ heart is broken over his lost hound, Roscoe. And school is painful. Grandpa has stopped drinking, but Travis knows it won’t last. The only bright spark in his life is classmate, Velveeta, who is the liveliest, flirtiest girl, who wears old lady scarves—different colors every day—with her hoody. Velveeta inherited the scarves from Calvin, the old man who lived in the next trailer, the one who bought her school supplies each year, who helped her build confidence, but now he’s died. Actually, the scarves belonged to Calvin’s wife, but she’s been gone for years. Travis and Velveeta’s stories alternate. Taciturn Travis is voiced in the third person, which is perfect for his strong silent character. Vivacious Velveeta, in the first person, writes to Calvin. So we get to see what Travis is feeling and Velveeta shows her feelings. Perfect. Travis and Velveeta like each other—really like each other—but relationship is complicated between two eighth graders, especially when each has a big secret. Can they trust each other? Help each other? You want it for them. They are both so likeable. And believable. If Velveeta goes home to her own trailer, she must suffer her selfish alcoholic mother, so she moves into Calvin’s empty trailer. Until she gets kicked out by Calvin’s grown daughter. Travis cuts class and sets out on foot to the country to find his dog. When the trip goes wrong, Travis acts like a kicked dog. Back at school he snaps at Velveeta. Velveeta, clever girl, figures out Travis’ big secret just as you, the reader, will. She tries to help him, but she’s just a kid and maybe a little awkward in helping. Travis snaps again. Now Velveeta is no longer Travis’ friend and his dog Roscoe hasn’t been found. School gets worse. He longs for some bully to start a fight with him so he could “blow loose all over them” and it wouldn’t be his fault. But the bully won’t start and Travis won’t start it. Thank heavens for McQueen the reading teacher. With his help and Velveeta’s smarts, maybe Travis will break out of his self-made prison of anger and loneliness. I loved these characters and the writing. I bet Schmatz follows through on Velveeta’s story in her next book.Patricia Hruby Powell is a nationally touring speaker, dancer, storyteller, occasional librarian, and children’s book author. She has books coming out with Chronicle books. talesforallages.com

  • Reading Teen
    2019-01-22 12:53

    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 thatThe 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.Austin

  • Teresa
    2019-01-25 10:05

    Loved this. Reminded me a little of Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt, since Travis is a kid who could choose to get into trouble but is really trying not to. He lives with his newly-recovering alcoholic grandfather, and they've just moved out of their home in the country, losing track of their beloved hound dog, Rosco, in the process. In his new school, he meets the irrepressible Vida, aka "Velveeta", who basically forces him to be her friend. And then his English teacher, Mr. McQueen, figures out Travis' secret, as we do if we forgot the reviews: Travis can't read. (I really like how the author hints at this but doesn't tell us flat out, because Travis is good at hiding it, has been hiding it for years.) Mr. McQueen, unlike previous teachers, finally gets Travis to believe that he can learn to read, and they begin.In alternating chapters, we get glimpses into Velveeta's life, and what she's lost; she and Travis become friends who know basically nothing about one another, because each one is too afraid to reveal his or her own situation. This changes, so gradually, in fits and starts, with missteps. I think this aspect of the book might make kids wonder what their classmates might be hiding. Does everyone have secrets? The sassy Vida is a great character.I liked how dyslexia is shown, in very concrete terms--it's not a question of TRYING, the words just mean nothing, blur together, even when Travis knows them individually. Another great thing about this book is how Travis gradually learns to make choices about dealing with his anger and frustration; he knows he can beat up some bullies, but he only lets them know that he could (in order to protect another kid) and then doesn't.Terrific book.

  • Ellie
    2019-02-02 08:38

    1. NO MORE DEAD DOGS.2. References to a book (The Book Thief) that you have to have read to get what's going on.3. THE MYSTERIOUS MYSTERY GIRL WITH PROBLEMS OF HER OWN.4. Didn't love the way the story was told switching between third and first person in a weird, weird way.5. I don't want anyone to take this the wrong way because I love library representations in kids books. However, I feel as if sometimes in books, kids find the library and then find themselves/change their life there WAY more often than that actually happens in real life. I cannot decide if this is because a. authors are the rare people who have experienced this and want to write about it or b. because authors want to suck up to librarians. Hopefully A? I just think that this isn't something that a lot of kids can relate to and while I love seeing libraries in kids books, I don't always think their placement is appropriate.6. This is definitely a teen book and shouldn't be seriously considered for the Newbery. Also, in general, it was fine, but not award-y.

  • April
    2019-02-18 04:45

    Bluefish by Pat Schmatz is an understated contemporary novel. I haven’t actually seen any reviews for it so far, so it seems very under the radar, or at least it did until I checked goodreads and realized it doesn’t come out until September 13. However, we still see advance reviews for most books, and I really do think Bluefish is going to be one of those that will be under the radar.Read the rest of my review here

  • Erin
    2019-01-18 04:42

    I actually groaned when I turned a page near the end of the book and discovered it was the last page of the story. I fell in love with Travis, Velveeta and Bradley, loved all of the references to other books, and actually thought many of the loose ends added to the realness of the lives of the characters.

  • Andrew
    2019-01-27 05:53

    BluefishThis book is a very interesting one, it is very different from regular books and has a strange plot and characters; but it is an intriguing and good story. The main character is a boy named Travis and a girl named Velveeta. The setting is a new town where Travis moves to. The main conflict is basically Travis and his struggles with school. The overall review of this book is good. I think that the characters are dull and they use kid-like language when they are supposed to be in the 8th grade: “Thanks you, Travis Roberts, Mr. Undercover alien genius cop man.” I think that this is very kiddish language and other than that the characters are sometimes very dull. A piece of text evidence that backs that up is “ ‘Where do you think you're going?’ He asked as he lit up. ‘Nowhere.’ ‘I can't be leaving work to babysit you.’ ‘So don't.’ Travis kept walking. This is get dull and there are a lot more of these dull parts and the reader gets bored.I think that the main characters are essential to the story and to the plot. The evidence that supports that is the following conversation with Travis and McQueen “McQueen looked up from the book he was reading. ‘Yes Mr. Roberts?’ ‘I decided.’ ‘Decided what, Mr. Roberts?’ ‘I want to learn.’ McQueen grinned like he'd been waiting all day for Travis to stand in his doorway and say just exactly that.” This shows that Travis took initiative and even though he had tried to learn how to read before and it had went badly he still decided to do well and learn how to read and that shows a lot of bravery in a character and I also think that the author describes Travis very well because he is a hard character to describe but I feel that she does it extremely well. I think that the idea of Travis learning how to read is an extremely well thought idea and that it is very different from regular authors. A text evidence is “ ‘Are you coming to the library with me?’ ‘What for’ ‘Words! Come on we will go over the ones…” This shows that Travis is learning how to read and even though he has a lot of challenges at his house and at school he still goes through and that is a very interesting story with a deep meaning and I think that the author is unique because I have never seen a book this interesting.I would recommend this book to someone who wants to read a book in an airport or a cafe and to semi-easy readers because I found that book an easy read. The star rating that I give the book is a 3 because even though it's a good book it is not fantastic but it is good overall.

  • Emiliano
    2019-02-07 07:45

    The main story is about Travis a teen in 8th grade who is a bluefish. He just moved to this new town and he is angry, stupid, and alone. However this girl named Velveeta who is smart knows Travis has a secret and she tries to discover it however Travis knows she has secrets of her own. This book is in my opinion mediocre.The characters aren’t believable in terms of their age and how they act accordingly to it. The author never tells us their age she only tells us they are in 8th grade. However they don't act like 8th graders, “Thank you, Travis Roberts, Mr. Undercover Alien Genius Cop man’, she said.” No eighth grader I know would ever talk like that. That is how a 4th grader talks. They also refer to sex as “the wild thing” instead of how it is actually called and they say it like it is disgusting like it is for a 4th grader. The plot gives us a unfinished relationship with Travis and Velveeta’s relationship . It is said that Velveeta likes Travis and Travis kinda also does. “I get it now when someone is hot because all of a sudden Travis made me have a fever. Kawoof, furnace on.” However we never get a conclusion of that relationship. They never talk about both of them liking each other. That part of the book gets forgotten. We never know if they stay as friends or become a couple. They never even share their feelings towards each other.The plot takes a long time to make the book interesting. It takes too much time setting the stage and telling rather than showing. Your emotions start to get into the book way too late; about thirty pages before the book ends. It starts getting interesting when, “Maybe it wasn't a bad idea. Even with grandpa in the picture.” I guess you can say it gets good in the climax. The rising action is really really boring. Pure telling rather than showing, for example how the author tells us Velveeta’s passion for M. Night Shyamalan which doesn't need to be told if it isn't important for the plot. “M. Night Shyamalan. He's a writer and director. He's done a bunch of movies. Sixth Sense is my favorite…”.I would recommend this book to a student who has to choose between this book to read and another worse book. I had to read this book and I much rather had read another book that wasn't this one. However it wasn't the worst of the bunch.

  • Jaclyn
    2019-01-29 04:54

    It was an emotional ride but it's a very gratifying, quick read, at the same time. A story about kids dealing with the struggles of life and loss, relationships, home lives, bullies, anger, and school. The characters are much more believable than they are in many YA books. I loved the references to The Book Thief too. Also, can we just take a moment to celebrate a book written about teenagers where they don't fall into the ultimate love with one another and never look back for the rest of their lives? I read plenty of books that get super sappy and I begrudgingly accept that, but this is a much more realistic depiction of teen life.

  • Elaine
    2019-02-09 05:58

    One more reminder that kids are able to handle and HIDE more than we think. So many YA novels portray ALL adults as the cause of angst and unhappiness—so glad to see a few sensitive and insightful grown-ups in the lives of Velveeta and Travis.

  • Salim Hasanin
    2019-02-03 08:44

    It's okay, I liked Schooled by Gordan Korman better which is a similar book. I wasn't really hooked or dissapointed when i had to stop reading

  • Monica Edinger
    2019-01-23 08:38

    I agree with those who are calling this a "quiet" book. Because I can't figure out how, I'm not able to rate it and I'm not going to do plot here (you can find that in other reviews here, I'm sure). What I will do is mull a bit about it.First of all one aspect of the book's quiet is due to the main character Travis who is incredibly silent on the surface though steaming underneath for many good reasons we learn as the book goes on. There are some lovely scenes through which we get to know Travis, say right at the beginning, his first day in a new school, when he subtly gets a shoe back to a bullied boy named Bradley. That incident causes another student, Velveeta, with her own problems to notice Travis and before long the three of them have connected. I definitely appreciate the author's elegant development of characters and plot. You are never hit over the face with the revelations, it is more they just come along, woven in naturally. Travis and Velveeta's separate situations of mourning (both have lost a dear and close friend) are elegantly done as is their connecting. The book is from two POVs, Velveeta's first person letters which alternate with chapters set from Travis's point of view. Both Travis and Velveeta interact with Bradley and there is a sense of them being a sort-of threesome, but since the POVs are Velveeta and Travis, Bradley feels a bit undeveloped. At least he did for me and I'm not sure how I feel about that as he has some qualities that felt, I have to say, stereotypic, designed I suppose to contrast with Travis and Velveeta. Since I'm a teacher I tend to be particularly hard on fictional educators and have to say I was very pleased with the reading teacher, Mr. McQueen --- one of the best portrayals of a teacher in a kid's book of this sort that I've seen in some time. He stays rightly far off, moving in just here and there to subtly help Travis. Excellently done. At the same time, as a teacher myself, I can't help chaffing a bit at the kid-can't-read trope, one I get tired of (and is another reason I don't think it fair for me to rate this book). But that isn't the fault of the book and the author, it is mine. Another thing I'm on the fence about is the referencing of other books. I always have very mixed feelings about this, especially if the books are relatively recent ones. That is, it is one thing to reference a book that is sort of in the culture (e.g. Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland) and another to reference books that are less so. There's something a little too didactic to me when I see this. That said, the two that Travis and Velveeta are reading (The Book Thief and Haunt Fox) and movingly woven into the plot as is the one referenced in the title. So those are just a few random thoughts from me about Bluefish.

  • Maggie Desmond-O'Brien
    2019-01-29 12:42

    Good YA is the balance between the artsy and the readable. Good YA is also the balance between the story teens need to hear, and the one they want to hear. Good YA requires a connection between author and reader perhaps more than in any other genre; a sort of telepathy, and loyalty. Bluefish is perhaps one of the most crystallized examples of good YA I have ever read, bringing to mind the classics by Judy Blume and Louis Sachar, the ones I read before I even knew what YA was.We have a rural setting, somewhere. One that's quirky enough to be interesting, and one that's just general enough to be there. Anywhere. Mostly on the wrong side of the tracks. This is good, because a setting that became a character would have competed with the fantastic characters we've been given.The relationship between Travis - withdrawn, sullen, a fighter, embarrassed about a secret that anyone could guess - and Velveeta - bubbly, quirky, trying to make up for something, and we don't know what - is what drives the novel. I cared about these characters. In both, polar opposites, I found shades of myself (and in Velveeta, shades of Juno, if you'd thrown in a teen pregnancy).In one of my favorite scenes, a friend of theirs that happily takes the role of Third Wheel - an avid videogamer, one of the "gifted" kids, black to their white trash, unimaginably privileged in Travis and Velveeta's eyes - brings lunch to school. I think it's squash ravioli, and his mother made it for him from scratch. And Travis and Velveeta wonder if they, too, had had parents that cared for them enough to make lunches from scratch, would they be the "gifted" kids? It's understated and pitch-perfect, and the kind of moment that I won't be forgetting anytime soon.Unfortunately, it slips somewhat by the end. There's slightly too much reaching towards a happy ending for my taste, and slightly too much precocious awareness of its quirks. Still, reading this at the same age I devoured Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Holes, would I have cared a whit about those flaws? Absolutely not. It's the kind of book that deserves to be checked out again and again from the library, beloved by generation after generation and remembered fondly in college and beyond. While older teens might not find enough grit to hold their attention, it's my go-to recommendation for middle schoolers and new-to-high-schoolers this year.

  • Brenna
    2019-02-01 09:59

    Thank you to Candlewick Press and the Goodreads first reads giveaway for my copy of this book!Travis seems to think he is a Seussian "bluefish" in more ways than he can shake a stick at. He's the new kid in town. He has a grandpa to raise him instead of two parents. His dog Roscoe has disappeared. Despite all of these facets of his life, when he enrolls in a new school, he meets a girl named Velveeta, or rather, Velveeta meets him. And thus begins a story of middle school friendship that's so much more than girl meets boy.Travis isn't the only person in the world who feels like he doesn't fit in with the "normal" crowd. Velveeta is loud, quirky and entertaining and marches to the beat of her own drummer. She's immediately taken with Travis, and although their friendship has its ups and downs, what relationship doesn't during the trials of any school year? Pat Schmatz has a way with empathy, making the reader care about not only the protagonist, but his grandfather, his dog, his parents who died before their son even got a chance to know them. The readers are sucked into the lives of Travis and Velveeta, two outcasts who find each other through a simple gesture, rather than a huge, traumatic event. Although Bluefish is no Hunger Games, it doesn't need to be. I had as much anticipation for the two kids opening up their worlds to one another as I did while Peeta and Katniss were being chased down in a murderous rampage. I was drawn to Travis and Velveeta so much more because of their troubled pasts and the fact that neither one was willing to back down about covering them up: Velveeta with her sharp tongue, and Travis with his lack of words. Between the two of them, it could have been like one person talking to a wall, but it felt like the exact opposite; when Travis spoke, I got a silly little smile on my face and felt satisfied, just like Velveeta.If you've ever felt like you didn't fit in with the crowd, Bluefish is a must read. No matter how ostracized you think you might be, there are always a few bluefish who will want to swim with you.

  • Sarah McLaughlin
    2019-02-02 10:00

    I read this book for a middle school-level Literary Devices class. I thought it was great at the beginning—we were only allowed to read 6 chapters a week to be able to discuss it, and a lot of my classmates finished it before they were supposed to. They just couldn't help it. It is a really addicting book. However, towards the end, I became a bit disappointed, which is the reason I give it four stars instead of five. The main contributor to my disappointment is the fact that the book really doesn't have a clear plot. A boy moves away from his old home and is the new kid in school. Some wacky girl becomes friends with him. Both of them have secrets. They discover each others secrets and are still friends. The end. There was no beginning, conflict/plot, and climax to this story. Velveeta's whole Calvin story kind of disappointed me as well. I thought it would lead to something more dramatic, like Travis had known Calvin too and had something to do with his death. I don't know. Anything more interesting than Calvin just being Velveeta's next door neighbor that gave her scarves would be good enough.If I am noting all of the bad qualities of Bluefish, than why am I still giving it four stars? Because it had good qualities, too. As I mentioned before, this book was very action-packed and wouldn't let you put it down. Also, I thought that Pat Schmatz was like a rebel. I think she proved that even a book without a plot could be a really good book. I admire her for that. I also enjoyed her descriptive-but-not-too-descriptive writing style. It annoys me when books focus too much on adjectives and not enough on verbs. However, I thought Schmatz wrote with perfect balance.Would I recommend this book to people? It depends. If you are a very critical reader and enjoy reading complex books with complex plots and a complex vocabulary, then I wouldn't. But if you are a teenager who just reads for entertainment and to write reviews like this on Goodreads, then I definitely would.

  • Deven
    2019-02-06 10:38

    I really liked this book, it reminded me kind of, of the book thief when he started circling letters, and when I learned that Velveeta was reading the book thief, I laughed out loud! Overall, I really liked this book, and would recommend it.

  • David Avalos
    2019-02-13 07:04

    Have you ever felt like everything was not going your way? Well if you have this book is for you. Bluefish is a fiction novel. I thought this was an excellent book. *Spoiler Alert* Travis is a kid who isn't smart and doesn't know how to read.Bluefish is about a 13 year old boy named Travis who's life isn't going so great. He hates living with his Grandpa, he hates his new town he just moved into, and he lost his dog in his old house. Travis considers dropping out of his new school, as he is no good at learning anyways. But everything changes when he meets a bright and unforgettable girl. Velveeta, a sassy girl with her own secrets, figures out what Travis has been hiding. With the help of a remarkable teacher and Velveeta's inability to back down, Travis's world begins to completely turn around. This conflict is a person vs. society because he has a lot of problems with his life.I was angry when I found out that Travis's Grandpa is an alcoholic because I wouldn't want to live with an alcoholic to begin with and I hate how drunk people act when they are drinking. I wish that Travis would not have to put up with all the problems he's been facing throughout his life.I liked how the English teacher helped bring Travis and Velveeta together because they both had the same problems and It would be better if they faced them together. I especially enjoyed the characters reactions to misunderstandings for establishing their friendship.I will rate this book a 4 because I really enjoyed it and it has taught me a lot about life and stuff. I will recommend this book to people who loves fiction and young adult books. So if you are having a ruff time at school or with your own problems, don't give up. There are a lot of people who can help.