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The Thing About Jellyfish Hardcover – September 22, 2015
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From School Library Journal
*"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
- Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 22, 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316380865
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316380867
- Reading age : 10 years and up
- Lexile measure : 740L
- Grade level : 5 and up
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.13 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #615,247 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.
One day Suzy went to go sit with the cool kids because Franny wanted to sit there. Suzy felt annoyed because she wanted to just sit with Franny, like it had been in the past. Franny is not very social and does not pick up general social cues, it’s not clarified in the book but she may even be on the autism spectrum. When she made her opinion on another girls comment, she started talking about urine. As she talked, the other girls laughed and thought she was strange. She knew so many facts about urine, but Suzy didn’t understand why that was funny or why it was the wrong thing to say.
Suzy decides to stop talking altogether once she got the news that Franny died, her parents thought that there was something wrong with her. Suzy decided to stop talking, she didn’t think there was anything positive to talk about. She couldn’t comprehend that Franny had drowned, she thought that there must be some deeper reason. She started to do research and came up with a theory that Franny was stung by an Irukandji jellyfish. She did lots of research and thought that a researcher named Jamie could get her all the answers that she needed.
Overall, The Thing About Jellyfish was a great book, I would recommend it to anyone above the age of ten. It is not too short and not too long, and it has the perfect amount of suspension. It may have taken a long time to understand the main idea, but it was an inspiring book with a wonderful story.