Cover image for The thing about jellyfish
Title:
The thing about jellyfish
Title:
The thing about jellyfish
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
New York, NY : Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., [2015]
Physical Description:
334 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
General Note:
Pagination may vary.
Abstract:
Twelve-year-old Suzy Swanson wades through her intense grief over the loss of her best friend by investigating the rare jellyfish she is convinced was responsible for her friend's death.

Available:*

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J BENJ (BOB) Book Juvenile Fiction
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J BENJ (BOB) Book Juvenile Fiction
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JF BENJ Book Juvenile Fiction
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J F BENJ New or Popular Book
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J BEN Book Juvenile Fiction
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J BENJ Book Juvenile Fiction
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J BENJAMIN Book Juvenile Fiction
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J FIC BENJ Book Juvenile Fiction
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JUV F BENJAMIN Book Juvenile Fiction
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J BENJAMIN, A. Book Juvenile Fiction
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On Order

Summary

Summary

This stunning debut novel about grief and wonder was an instant New York Times bestseller and captured widespread critical acclaim, including selection as a 2015 National Book Award finalist!

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.


Author Notes

Ali Benjamin is an award-winning American author. She is best known for her debut novel The Thing about Jellyfish, which was a 2015 National Book Award for Young People's Literature finalist.

Benjamin has co-authored several books, including: The Keeper: A life of Saving Goals and Achieving Them, by Tim Howard, Positive: a Memoir by Paige Rawl, and The Cleaner Plate Club with Beth Bader.

In addition to her published books, her work has appeared in numerous publications, namely Boston Globe Magazine and Martha Stewart's Whole living Online. She was also the sole story researcher and casting director for an hour-long primetime special, Sesame Street: Growing Hope Against Hunger, which won a 2012 Emmy Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In her first solo outing, Benjamin (coauthor of Positive with Paige Rawls) composes a moving portrayal of loss and healing. Franny Jackson and Suzy Swanson had been best friends for years until Franny joined a middle-school clique and began to drift from Suzy and her penchant for scientific facts. As seventh grade begins, 12-year-old Suzy channels the conflicting emotions surrounding Franny's drowning death into silence, shutting out her divorced parents, her older brother and his boyfriend, her psychologist, and a caring science teacher. Replacing language with research, Suzy follows the scientific method, whose structure mirrors that of the book, hoping to prove that a jellyfish sting was responsible for Franny's drowning. 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, as well as a testament to the grandeur of the natural world. Increasingly fascinated by her own theories, Suzy embarks on an ambitious plan to prove her hypothesis, while tentatively reaching out to new friends and finding support for her emerging voice. Ages 8-12. Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Suzy lost her longtime best friend twice: first at the beginning of sixth grade, when Franny shifted away from her and into a clique of pretty girls, and irrevocably during the following summer, when Franny drowned at the beach. Entering seventh grade and burdened by painful memories that she can neither express nor forget, Suzy almost entirely stops talking for many months. She becomes fascinated with jellyfish and intent on linking Franny's drowning to a sting. Unable to connect meaningfully with those who are closest to her, she secretly, meticulously plans a trip to Australia to consult a jellyfish specialist in hopes of finding answers to her questions about Franny's death. In the end, though, a conversation closer to home offers what she needs in order to deal with the experience, forgive herself, and move forward. Benjamin's involving novel features clean, fluid writing that is highly accessible yet rich with possibilities for discussion. Science minded and fascinated by facts, Suzy is intellectually able to see the big picture but limited in her life experience. Her highly individual first-person narrative makes compelling reading. Facts and metaphors related to jellyfish are woven seamlessly into the narrative of this memorable story. An uncommonly fine first novel.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2015 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Suzy's best friend, Franny Jackson, was a strong swimmer. There is no way she could have drowned, at least in Suzy's mind. Suzy's determined search for a different explanation for her friend's death leads her to believe that Franny was stung by an Irukandji jellyfish. Having nothing but time, since she has no other friends and has decided to stop talking, Suzy sets out to prove her theory. This multilayered novel takes readers on several concurrent emotional journeys. Benjamin skillfully blends time and narrative to slowly reveal truths about Suzy: first and foremost that their friendship was over long before Franny's death. The girl she had once thought was her best friend decided it was time for a middle school social upgrade, choosing popularity over her awkward childhood pal. Suzy's decision to seek revenge and remind Franny of their bond backfires, destroying what was left of their relationship. Consequently, Franny's death is the impetus for the protagonist's mission of personal reconciliation for the guilt and regret she feels over their falling out. Suzy's fierce intelligence, compounded by her painful transition into adolescence, makes her a sympathetic and compelling character. 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. Though Suzy herself is oddly unique in her self-imposed social ineptitude and singular focus, the politics of friendships and changing values of young teens will resonate with readers. Benjamin's inverse approach to tragedy, placing the death at the beginning of the novel and storytelling through the grieving process, transcends the trope, as the story triumphs in the affecting realities of emotional response and resilience. VERDICT Strong readers of middle grade realistic fiction will fully immerse themselves in this superbly written, heartfelt novel.-Juliet Morefield, Multnomah County Library, OR © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.