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The Thing About Jellyfish Paperback – April 4, 2017
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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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
About the Author
- Grade Level : 5 and up
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316380849
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316380843
- Product Dimensions : 5.3 x 1.1 x 7.6 inches
- Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint Edition (April 4, 2017)
- Reading level : 10 and up
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #13,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
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.