The Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing About Jellyfish

Book - 2015
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After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting—things don't just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory—even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe and the potential for love and hope right next door.
Publisher: New York ; Boston : Little, Brown, 2015
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316380867
Characteristics: 343 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Thing about jellyfish : a novel

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Green_Cat_68
Aug 29, 2020

The majority of this plot is about twelve-year old Suzy Swanson and her journey of coping with the grief that she has after her friend’s death. I read this book in seventh grade, and I thought that it was very moving and relatable. The author utilizes many unique writing techniques in order to grip the reader’s attention. For example, the start of the story begins after her friend’s death, so throughout the book it is necessary to piece together all the events before it is possible to conclude what happened. Benjamin accomplishes this by adding in multiple flashbacks. It also doesn’t feature dialogue for most of the book, but as a result, the reader can peer inside Suzy’s mind. We are able to know what she’s feeling, and what her thought process is like. Both of these help explain the choices that she makes. In conclusion, The Thing About Jellyfish is a very touching and moving story, and should be read by anyone who enjoys a good coming-of-age novel.

c
ctonci
Jul 25, 2020

The Thing about Jellyfish is a beautiful book about a young girl named Suzy trying to justify her best friend's death. After her friend drowning Suzy immerses herself into the deep study of jellyfish, which she is convinced to kill her friend. Suzy has a tragic past which shows itself in her study and fixation on jellyfish instead of coping with her friend's death. I loved this book because it magnifically portraits the coping with grief. I would rate this book 5 out of 5 for its powerful yet simple message. I would recommend this book to 12+ fiction/drama readers because this book covers some very heavy topics.

a
abbyhorlick
Aug 22, 2019

The thing about Jelly fish is about a very intelligent girl, Suzy Swanson who has always known a lot facts other kids don't. But what she doesnt understand is why her best friends life had been stopped at a young age. She makes a plan to figure out how and why her friend died, by traveling the world -alone. I loved this book because Suzy is really inquisitive about things that most kids aren't interested in, ( for example, who knows how many jellyfish stings happen in a day) and the storyline is really fascinating.

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bezoarbezoarbezoar
Jul 26, 2019

I can't help but wonder how this book would have been different if the author had been explicit about the main character being on the autism spectrum. I couldn't help but get that impression - hyperfixation, social challenges, becoming nonverbal - it would have taken absolutely nothing away from the rest of the book to have that stated outright.

That being said, I enjoyed this read. It was refreshing to get the perspective of a middle schooler who has hurt a close friend. There is explanation behind the behavior but the protagonist clearly knows that her actions were not ok. This could provide some interesting conversation starters about the nature of grief and mourning a loved one, as well as the impression of mental health care/professionals from the perspective of a middle schooler. I would have LOVED to have read this book in middle school - there was a point in time where I was the kid sitting in a therapy session without saying a word. The author articulated what's going on in the narrator's head during those times perfectly.

y
yingamanda
Jul 21, 2019

This book is one of my absolute favorites. I have read it multiple times and it never gets old. It definitely portrays the life of a young middle schooler and all the troubles they go through! Definitely read this book!

i
iloveseaotters
Jun 23, 2019

This book appealed to me for one main reason; the fact that I lost a very good friend back in August of 2015, and I was hoping to have something to connect to in that respect. So I was a bit disappointed that Suzy's friend Franny was portrayed so "poorly", for lack of a better word. There were moments in the book where I didn't like Franny at all and wondered what Suzy saw in her. I was hoping to fall "in love" with the character so that when the time came to talk about what had happened to her, I'd be sobbing at the loss of her. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wish they had focused more on the friendship and the way they became close instead of how their friendship ended badly and how Suzy never really got a chance to apologize. At the beginning of the book, when she is told about Franny's death, it annoyed me, not because it was badly written but because it seemed so "uneventful", like it was something that happened every day instead of something tragic. It took her some time to let it sink in, but when she starts to take on a huge adventure, I think that Franny would have been proud of her. I know I would have.

It is an emotional book, don't get me wrong, and it's very down to earth. I love all of the references to current events and current things that kids like, but I really liked the way the facts about jellyfish were interspersed throughout the book. I think I learned more about jellyfish from reading this book than I did in all of my years as a volunteer at the Seattle Aquarium. Suzy was an amazing character and I could see her becoming a brilliant scientist some day. In this book she goes on a mission to prove that her friend's death was related to jellyfish and not just something that happened.

I had no idea this was a YA book when I first heard about it and I think it made me like it even better. The chapters were incredibly short; some as short as 1-2 small pages in places, and it allowed me to read it very quickly. I loved being able to sit down on my break at work and read 5 chapters in about ten minutes.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with friends or anyone who has an interest in jellyfish or sea life. Ali Benjamin has done an amazing job with this and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

z
zkansari
Jun 18, 2019

~The Thing About Jellyfish~

What would you do if you fought your best friend only a few days before they died, only to find out you never said sorry? Just ask Suzy Swanson. She's got a good idea about how you would feel. Perhaps you can never cover up the guilt that you would feel. Forever. How are you to say sorry to someone you'll never see in this world? Suzy struggles through this question, wondering if Fanny would have forgiven her anyway, after the horrible things that happened between them. After the build up of unforgettable tension. Sometimes you may feel as if you're going through so many hardships, and when you die, you're relieved of it. But maybe, before she died, Fanny was feeling the same way, asking the same question I asked you earlier. Both friends may have wanted to say sorry, and there was no way for them to ever meet again in any unworldly way.

~Legend.

k
kmobuckeye
Feb 12, 2019

If I could describe this with emojis it would be a bunch of hearts. I can't wait for this to be a movie.

k
kadBookworm
Jan 25, 2019

After Suzy Swanson's best friend, Franny, unexpectedly dies during summer break in a drowning accident, Suzy refuses to talk. She struggles with making friends now that Franny is gone and she isn't satisfied with the last memory she has of Franny, crying and carrying her wet bags down to the office. But she doesn't believe that Franny just died, because things don't just happen. One day, at an aquarium field trip with her class, Suzy spies a poster describing a jellyfish that has migrated far from it's natural habitat, is nearly transparent, and the sting kills almost immediately. Convinced that Franny was stung, and looking for closure, Suzy elaborates a plan to run away from her home, her brother, her mom and fly to Australia to meet with a jellyfish expert and find out the truth about Franny's death. After what she had done to her best friend when she was only trying to help, it was the least she could do. A first perspective novel, with short chapters, and a really good message. A few excerpts from the past years of Suzy's life that explained all the events leading up to Franny's last moment with Suzy really help move the book along, but can be a little confusing at times. Really cute and complex characters. I would recommend this book to my friends.

s
SHAZIAKHAN23
Dec 25, 2018

Really intresting and enjoyable

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Age

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b
bezoarbezoarbezoar
Jul 26, 2019

bezoarbezoarbezoar thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

k
kadBookworm
Jan 25, 2019

kadBookworm thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

violet_butterfly_8881 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 12

a
Adele_ag
Jun 03, 2018

Adele_ag thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

c
Constitution11
Dec 31, 2017

Constitution11 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

a
anne1212li
Dec 20, 2017

anne1212li thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

n
natulik1
Dec 01, 2017

natulik1 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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PCT
Jul 03, 2017

PCT thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

l
lbnemi
Jun 17, 2017

lbnemi thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

red_horse_2441 Aug 15, 2016

red_horse_2441 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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Summary

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k
kadBookworm
Jan 25, 2019

After Suzy Swanson's best friend, Franny, unexpectedly dies in a drowning accident over summer break, Suzy refuses to talk. She struggles with making friends now that Franny is gone. She can hardly live with the last memory she has of Franny, crying and carrying her wet bags down to the office. But Suzy doesn't think that Franny really just drowned because things don't just happen. One day, at an aquarium field trip with her class, Suzy spies a poster describing a jellyfish that has migrated far from it's natural habitat, is nearly transparent, and the sting kills almost immediately. Convinced that Franny was stung, and looking for closure, Suzy elaborates a plan to run away from her home, her brother, her mom and fly to Australia to meet with a jellyfish expert and find out the truth about Franny's death. After what she had done to her best friend when she was only trying to help, it was the least she could do. A first perspective novel, with short chapters, and a really good message. A few excerpts from the past years of Suzy's life that explained all the events leading up to Franny's last moment with Suzy really help move the book along, but can be a little confusing at times. Really cute and complex characters. I would recommend this book to my friends.

l
LibraryGal82
Jun 10, 2016

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory - even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe... and the potential for love and hope right next door.

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p
PCT
Jul 07, 2017

Other: Suzy is going through a difficult time in her life so the story is quite sad in some parts. She refers to the end of the world a lot too. as well as stealing from her family (which she later almost entirely gives back)

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LibraryGal82
Jun 10, 2016

“If people were silent, they could hear the noise of their own lives better. If people were silent, it would make what they did say, whenever they chose to say it, more important. If people were silent, they could read one another's signals, the way underwater creatures flash lights at one another, or turn their skin different colors.”
― Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish

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