Review and Blog Tour: The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm

I’m super excited to be part of my first ever Rockstar Blog Tour. Yay! When I saw the invitation to review The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm, I really couldn’t resist. I had so much fun reading the first book about Ellie and her grandfather-trapped-in-a-teenager’s-body that I absolutely had to find out what happens to them next in this book, The Third Mushroom. Read on for my review, some information about the author, other stops on the tour and a chance to win your very own copy of the book!

The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm

The Third Mushroom
Jennifer L. Holm
Random House
Published on September 4, 2018

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads  | AudibleiBooks | TBD

About The Third Mushroom
Ellie’s grandpa Melvin is a world-renowned scientist . . . in the body of a fourteen-year-old boy. His feet stink, and he eats everything in the refrigerator–and Ellie is so happy to have him around. Grandpa may not exactly fit in at middle school, but he certainly keeps things interesting. When he and Ellie team up for the county science fair, no one realizes just how groundbreaking their experiment will be. The formula for eternal youth may be within their reach! And when Ellie’s cat, Jonas Salk, gets sick, the stakes become even higher. But is the key to eternal life really the key to happiness? Sometimes even the most careful experiments yield unexpected–and wonderful–results.

My Review
I loved The Fourteenth Goldfish with its zany characters and love for science, so when I saw this sequel, The Third Mushroom, I pretty much HAD to read it. Ellie’s grandpa still cracked me up with his goofy blend of grandpa-slash-teenage-boy-ness. I loved the way he referred to hormonal issues as “The Puberty” and his cute relationship with the librarian.
There’s one part (I don’t want to give away what happens) that’s super sad. I wasn’t prepared for it, and it brought back the memories of my own similar experience. Those scenes were tough to read because they were so moving, but overall, there’s a positive message through it. (I’ll add a spoiler section to the end since it might be something you’d want to know about before reading if you’ve got a sensitive kid who’s just been through what Ellie’s experience.)
I also liked the way the story addressed the shifting relationships Ellie experiences. I so remember that stuff happening in middle school and how disconcerting it could be.
Science again plays a fun and interesting role in the story, as Ellie and her grandfather enter a science fair together and learn about various scientists who’ve made important contributions in the past. The end of the book includes a short list of resources to learn more about the scientists and discoveries mentioned in the book, which I thought was a nice touch as well.
Overall, if you enjoy spunky, fun stories, The Third Mushroom is a great pick. You can find my review of The Fourteenth Goldfish here.

The Third Mushroom on AmazonRecommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Cultural Elements
Ellie and her family are white. Her best friend is a boy named Raj, who dresses as a goth.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Ellie goes on a date with a boy and holds his hand. She feels a little disappointed that she’s not more excited about the whole thing, and the possible romance kind of fizzles out.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content

Drug Content
Ellie learns a bit about the invention of penicillin. She and her grandfather discover a compound that seems to have some regenerative capabilities. See spoiler section at the end of the post for more details.

The Third Mushroom on Goodreads
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and purchase items from, I will get a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. This helps cover the costs of running my blog.

About Jennifer L. Holm

Website | Twitter | Facebook |  Goodreads

Jennifer L. Holm is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling children’s author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, PENNY FROM HEAVEN, and TURTLE IN PARADISE. Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series — the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. Her new novel is THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

Visit the Other Stop on The Third Mushroom Blog Tour

Week One:

9/3/2018- Beagles & Books– Review

9/4/2018- BookHounds YA– Excerpt

9/5/2018- The Story Sanctuary– Review

9/6/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert – Review

9/7/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

Week Two:

9/10/2018- For the Love of KidLit– Interview

9/11/2018- YA Books Central– Interview

9/12/2018- The OWL– Review

9/13/2018- Book-Keeping– Review

9/14/2018- Two Points of Interest– Review

The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. HolmEnter to Win a Copy of The Third Mushroom

Three winners will each receive one copy of The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spoiler Alert – super sad scenes

I mentioned above that something happens in the book that’s sad and was hard for me to read because I didn’t expect it and it brought back my own memories of a similar event. What happens is that Ellie’s cat gets seriously injured. The family isn’t sure what happened, but they suspect he was hit by a car. Desperate to help him, Ellie asks her grandfather to inject the formula they’ve discovered into the cat near his damaged spine. It’s too late for the poor furry little guy, and shortly after that, Ellie and her family make the difficult decision to put him to sleep. She grieves for the loss, feeling alternately lost, hurt, angry, etc. Ultimately, she ends up rescuing another cat who’s about to become homeless and realizes she still has love to share and another cat needs her.

It so reminded me of my own experience losing a cat – I particularly identified with feeling like the heart was missing from my home. I hated being home in an empty house without a cat. Which is how I started visiting an animal shelter just to see kitty faces. And how my next cat won me over. You can see a picture of both my rescue cats on my Instagram.

Anyway – normally I don’t post spoilers, but if you’ve been through the experience of losing a pet recently, this part of the book will either be healing or too much. It happens near the end of the book, and is only the focus of a few scenes, but like I said, it’s pretty moving.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

Comments are closed.