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The Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing About Jellyfish

Ali Benjamin

The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin, is a story of grief with rays of wonder and hope shining through. Suzy, the main character, is trying to figure out life without her best friend who died in a drowning accident. But Suzy is convinced that her friend must have died from a rare jellyfish sting, it was the only reasonable explanation. Suzy retreats into her world of imagination and planning, thinking of traveling the world alone just to prove her best friend’s death. Follow as Suzy draws herself a path that leads her on a journey of life, death, the astonishing wonders of the world around her, and maybe even the potential of letting hope and love shine through right next door.

The Thing About Jellyfish is filled with so many emotions, it is nearly bubbling over with sadness, grief, and hope. The story switches between the past present. The past focuses on the relationship and friendship of Franny, Suzy’s best friend, and Suzy herself. The present focuses on Suzy’s attempt to find the “true” explanation to Franny’s death. The entire story is Suzy’s path to coping with her best friend’s death, but not in the right way. Rather than moving on, Suzy has created a path for herself that will only lead her in circles, that is, until she is able to prove that Franny never died in a drowning accident, but rather, she died some other way. The story is incredibly moving. But also very sad. Ali Benjamin is able to create a story that seems real and alive, as if it was a plot line of your own life. The writing is alive, and beautifully described. Although I knew the story was, well, a story, I would truly care so much for Suzy, and would always hope that everything would turn out good for her. The plot although is incredibly sad, it is not depressing. Ali Benjamin has created an incredibly emotional story, but was also able to weave rays of hope and wonder throughout. There are special times through the book where you will find yourself smiling through your tears, because that’s the type of book this is. A book that gracefully envelopes you into the characters, making you feel their emotions, and having you care for them as if they were real.

Grade Level:

- Suggested: 6th-9th

- Advanced: 5th

- Genre: Realistic-fiction

- Key Elements: Jellyfish, grief

- Possible Themes: Grief, loss

Overall Rating: 5/5

Happy Reading!

-The Book Lover-

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