- File Size: 9462 KB
- Print Length: 335 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 22, 2015)
- Publication Date: September 22, 2015
- Sold by: Hachette Book Group
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00RTY0EPQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,672 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$8.99|
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The Thing About Jellyfish Kindle Edition
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|Length: 335 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 10 - 99|
|Grade Level: 5 - 17|
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*"Reminiscent of works by Jennifer L. Holm and Sharon Creech, Benjamin's novel is a shining example of the highs and lows of early adolescence."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
*"Benjamin's sense of timing and delivery is extraordinary, as she blends the visceral experiences of Suzy's journey with an internal dialogue that is authentic and poignant....readers...will fully immerse themselves in this superbly written, heartfelt novel."―School Library Journal, starred review
*"Benjamin's involving novel features clean, fluid writing that is highly accessible, yet rich with possibilities for discussion.... Her highly individual, first-person narrative makes compelling reading.... An uncommonly fine first novel."―Booklist, starred review
*"This novel has it all: just-right pacing, authentic voices and characters, beautifully crafted plot, and superb writing. Readers will find that this story lingers with them after the book is closed."―VOYA, starred review
"There are...a lot of children who might not only benefit from this book but also find themselves deeply moved by it."―New York Times Book Review
"Seventh-grade narrator Suzy Swanson will win readers' hearts as she silently struggles to come to terms with her complex emotions over the death of her former best friend."―Shelf Awareness
"A heartfelt read for kids and adults."
―First for Women Magazine
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From School Library Journal
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However overall it was a wonderful story and I would recommend for people 10+!
Seventh grader Suzy Swanson is on the autism spectrum, and she can tell you lots of things most people don’t know, ranging from the sleep pattern of ants to almost everything about jellyfish. But she can’t explain, or understand, how her former best friend, Franny Jackson, could have drowned swimming in the ocean over the summer. Not just because Franny was a good swimmer: Franny had also shattered their friendship and then Suzy had done something horrible in response to Franny just before the start of summer—something that the two of them never had a chance to talk about. Now they never will. Suzy, in fact, has stopped talking completely. To anyone. But Suzy thinks if she can prove that her friend Franny died because of a poisoned jellyfish sting, then there will be some closure. And perhaps then Suzy will feel better, because there will be a villain in the story that isn’t her.
This National Book Award-nominated middle grade novel is a moving story of loss, grief, broken friendship, being a non-neurotypical kid, and the halting journey toward healing from grief. Suzy gets a few things completely, noticing some details with excruciating clarity, while missing others—including how to fit in, anywhere, in the shark tank that is life in middle school. Suzy’s autism spectrum disorder—which is never named in the book, but is clear—gives the author, Ali Benjamin, an excuse to alternate simple, straightforward prose with occasional burst of lyrical beauty in description, at the funeral (“after the men wheeled your box away and your mom stumbled after it with wild eyes…”) or even describing things like over-fishing the oceans. (“We send them to Red Lobster and Long John Silver’s. We fill supermarket cases with their flesh, all slick and gleaming on heaps of ice.”) The power of the story comes from Suzy’s aching vulnerability: She’s a kid different from the neurotypicals, although until the seventh grade she had that one good friend who made everything bearable, but then she lost that friend. Who is now irretrievably gone, even unable to hear “I’m sorry.” It’s a situation that can’t be fixed by learning everything there is to know about poisonous jellyfish, but Suzy does eventually reach some understanding of what she’ll never know, and takes the first few tenuous steps toward making two new friends.
The best kind of heart-breaking story, the kind that heals and expands your heart, and you understanding, by the end.
Ali Benjamin adds chapters about jellyfish in between chapters from the past detailing the girls’ friendship and its collapse and the present where Suzy struggles to make sense of her new normal. I’m not sure this works well in a middle grade story, though kids interested in sea life and science might appreciate the parallels Benjamin draws.
Suzy seemed immature for her age, though if she was autistic, her difficulty understanding her peers would make more sense. Her selective mutism was written a typically for the condition.
Benjamin included a fairly graphic scene with a child killing a frog which disturbed me as an adult. I’m not certain I’d want a tween to read that.
THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH is a well meaning book that misses the mark.
The first few pages sucked me in right away and brought me back to my middle school days. The words were expressive, raw, and made me feel like I was experiencing them in real life and not just on the page. There were many times throughout the novel where I had to stop and re-read paragraphs because they were so touching. I can't say that I've read such an honest and captivating book in a very long time.
Throughout the novel, the reader follows Suzy on a journey of self discovery as well as her journey to figure out why her best friend died and what caused the downfall of their friendship. Suzy attempts to study and pick apart the days leading up to the "accident" in order to truly figure out why it happened. She seems to believe the cause of her friend's death is by a lethal jellyfish, so she throws herself into research in order to find an answer. Suzy is an incredible young lady who does the best she can navigating through some of the toughest years of her life. There is much to be learned from this young lady and this great novel.
All in all, The Thing About Jellyfish is a fantastic read, not just for middle-aged readers! There were so many wonderful quotes that I will continue to read over and over. I would highly recommend this book to readers 12 and up.
Top international reviews
Als Suzy erfährt, dass jede Sekunde mehrere Menschen durch tödlich-giftige Quallen gestochen werden, ist für sie klar: genau dies ist ihrer Freundin zugestoßen. Nun geht es um jeden Preis darum, ihre Theorie zu verifizieren.
Hinter Suzies Projekt steht mehr als nur der unfassbare Tod eines Mädchens, das das ganze Leben noch vor sich hatte. Denn am Ende waren sie keine Freundinnnen mehr. Ebenso wenig wie Frances Unfall kann und konnte Suzy begreifen, warum die Freundin sich plötzlich für andere Dinge interessierte als ihrer beider Freundschaft (z.B. für Mode und Jungs). Frances war Suzy treu ergeben, hat sie aufgrund ihres Faktenwissens bewundert - und das hätte immer so bleiben sollen. Und dann ist da die Sache mit Frances Schließfach und der Botschaft, die Suzy ihr mitteilen wollte...
Die dem Buch zugrunde liegende Idee hat mir gut gefallen, aber es waren dann zwei Dinge, die meinen Lesegenuss doch ziemlich getrübt haben.
Zum einen versucht Ali Benjamin, quasi im Vorbeigehen, ihre (jungen) Leser in den Bann der Naturwissenschaften zu ziehen. Das resultiert in einem manchmal lehrerhaft wirkenden Schreibstil.
Zum anderen konnte ich mit der Protagonistin herzlich wenig anfangen. Suzy ist kein sehr liebenswertes Kind. In ihrer Welt kreist offenbar alles um sie selbst. Die Freundin vereinnahmt sie, als wäre sie ihr Eigentum. .Sie kann sich nicht auf ihre Mitmenschen einstellen, versucht es nicht einmal, und verweigert schließlich jede Form der verbalen Kommunikation.und damit Interaktion. In ihrer eigenen Logik handelt sie richtig, obwohl, was sie tut, ziemlich unsozial ist.
Ich hatte aber nicht den Eindruck, als hätte die Autorin die Absicht gehabt, ihre Hauptfigur negativ darzustellen. Oder ihr soziophobes (oder leicht autistisches?) Verhalten zum eigentlichen Tehma ihres Buches zu machen. Dadurch, dass der Fokus so eindeutig auf der Neugier an naturwissenschaftlichen Themen liegt (das Buch ist "allen neugierigen Kindern dieser Welt" gewidmet), muss man annehmen, die mangelnde Sozialkompetenz der Protagonistin sei eben nur eine damit verbundene, verzeihliche Eigentümlichkeit "nerdiger" kids..
adolescent readers and their teachers.