The Thing About Jellyfish
By Ali Benjamin
4 / 5 ⭐️
“𝐀 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐲 𝐛𝐲 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐞𝐭.”
I don’t know about you, but lately the middle-school and YA books are the ones messing with my emotions. The Thing About Jellyfish is no exception as it delves deep into the mind of a young girl dealing with the death of her friend. Ali Benjamin’s writing is beautiful; she takes a friendship, and then portrays the heartbreak within it, both in life and death.
Twelve year old Suzy Swanson, or Zu as her mom calls her, is not talking at all. She stopped talking the day she found out that her friend Franny Jackson had drowned in the ocean. Suzy doesn’t know how to process the fact that Franny is gone. That “sometimes things just happen,” as her mom told her. So Suzy stopped talking, stopped filling up the world with dumb words, “dumb words that sometimes end friendships forever.” Because the truth is Suzy had already lost Franny as a friend.
This book does such a wonderful job navigating through the mirthful, but sometimes messy, muddle of childhood friendship. Suzy takes us back through her friendship with Franny and we see just how unkind those middle-school years can be, especially to a girl who sees the world a little differently.
After Franny’s death, Suzy is haunted by the last thing she did to her friend. Determined to find out what really happened to Franny, Suzy becomes fixated on jellyfish and their stings. Her scientific research may not bring Franny back, but it may help Suzy find the words to say goodbye.