The Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing About Jellyfish

Book - 2015
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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.
Publisher: New York ;, Boston :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316380867
Characteristics: 343 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm


From the critics

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Sep 26, 2017

Suzy's journey to cope with the death of her best friend turns into an ultimate process of self-discovery. Convinced that learning about jellyfish and their immortality will help explain her friend's death, Suzy determination takes her on an unexpected quest to learn as much about herself as she does about jellyfish. As funny as it is touching, this book will certainly stay with you long after the last page.

Feb 18, 2017

Wonderful story! I read this with my children (8 and 11) and we all absolutely loved it. Poignant, coming-of-age story about facing death, friends, awkward middle-school years, and our own mortality.

MsCourtney Feb 07, 2017

Character-driven and emotionally intense read. I love flashbacks and couldn't wait to see what happened with the ill-fated friendship of the lovably, awkward main character.

Jan 20, 2017

Such an amazing book. I read it within 24 hours (would have finished it in one sitting if it weren't for my full time job and 16 month old son!) Such a page turner and can easily relate to the main character. Definitely would recommend to anyone who has a deep love of jellyfish and understands the torments of middle school!

Jun 28, 2016

This book was sad and confusing, but good. I think it is a good book for everyone to read someday, and I am STILL TO THIS DAY curious about how Franny drowned.

Jun 09, 2016

This book was a page turner. I couldn't seem to put it down. Writing style was different from any books I've read recently and it kept me wanting to learn more... not only about the main character, but about this fascinating world we live in. It's amazing how differently we all grieve, but I thought the way Suzy did her grieving was beautiful in it's own way.

Feb 08, 2016

Got good reviews, but I found it very depressing. There are better books about kids dealing with grief.

JCLKatieS Jan 03, 2016

Suzy's friend Franny means the world to her. She knows that their relationship had struggled after beginning sixth grade yet she is convinced that it could return to normal if only she could give Franny a sign. But when she finally does, the timing is terrible and she is overcome with grief, guilt and anxiety because she can't undo her actions. Ali Benjamin has written a beautiful book about dealing with grief and provides insight into the lives of middle school children and their hardships. I highly recommend this book for preteens and their parents, especially those who are having to deal with the loss of a loved one.

Watch our conversation with author Ali Benjamin on YouTube:

Like some other readers, I feel as if I have read this book before. Death of an estranged best friend. Weave in some science to relate it to STEM. Include a brother who has a boyfriend. Mix in divorced parents who are nearly perfect and way more forgiving and understanding than any parents I know. It felt contrived to me. However, it will likely appeal to tweens with who enjoy realistic fiction.

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Dec 01, 2017

natulik1 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Nov 29, 2017

christy_kocher thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 03, 2017

PCT thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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

May 20, 2016

bigcoweye thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


Add a Summary

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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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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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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