September 15, 2015

The Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing About Jellyfish
Ali Benjamin
352 pages
September 22nd 2015
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Middle Grade | Realistic Fiction
eARC from NetGalley (Thank you LB!)
5/5 Stars
A stunning debut about how grief can open the world in magical ways.

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.

If you read one middle grade book this year that book should be The Thing About Jellyfish.

I was crying from the beginning of the book and still tearing up at the end. The Thing About Jellyfish is so tragically beautiful. I read the entire book in about an hour and a half sitting. I literally could not pull my eyes away. The Thing About Jellyfish was one of those rare occasions when the first sentence fully captivated me and I was pulled into the story immediately. I refused to let go of this beautiful book.

Suzy is a wonderful main character. I felt her pain. I sympathized with her. I cried for her. I loved her so deeply. Her willingness and dedication to prove her best friend's death was not an accident and that "things don't just happen" was heart wrenching in the best possible way. (Not as in, it was the best thing to read, but as in the author did such a beautiful job with conveying her desperation and grief.) Her emotions are so tangible and raw yet so innocent in nature.

The Thing About Jellyfish also incorporates some of my the best side characters. I have to mention Justin, Sarah, and Mrs. Turton. They were all so wonderful and kind and I don't even know if I can find the words to explain how much I enjoyed them and their presence in this novel.

I was reminded so much of myself by Suzy. I was the kid who was not interested in short skirts and dresses and princesses or makeup and eyeshadow. I didn't really care about my appearance (I still don't, honestly, ask anyone who knows me and they can tell you almost all I wear are Lululemon leggings and big sweaters), and I didn't really care about boys either. I was interested in other things, like books and reading, and the Discovery channel. Suzy was the same way. She didn't care about barrettes or eyeshadow or hair products or boys. She instead was interested in science and explorers and facts. When all the other girls wanted to talk about boys and growing up and the newest fashion trends, she remained dedicated to what she loved, never necessarily getting into all those other typically "girly" things. She was especially enamored with jellyfish. Suzy was like this fountain of knowledge and I feel like I walked away from this book knowing quite a few more random facts then I went it with. I was so happy that Suzy loved science, as I have never read a book where the female main character is interested in science, and I think that's extremely unfortunate as science can sometimes be seen as more of a male thing, when it shouldn't be. So, yay for Suzy loving science!

This book is so completely profound and moving and has life lessons (without being preachy at all) I feel as though everyone could benefit from. I felt such a deep connection to Suzy and her story and I obviously would recommend this book, especially if you're looking for something that will make you feel.

1 comment:

  1. I just saw this book maybe two weeks ago in a bookstore and I didn't know anything about it then. I'm glad I saw your review, I will pick this one up in my next bookstore stop.

    I think I will relate to the MC, too. I am not into make-up and barrettes when I was a kid and even up to now. Great review!

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