Monday, September 28, 2015

The Thing About Jellyfish

Junior high is a tough, but it is especially hard for Suzy who is a little different from the other girls, and whose best friend has died over the summer.

Suzy feels guilt about Franny's death, even though she wasn't there when it happened.  Although Suzy still thinks of Franny as her best friend, the friendship the girls always enjoyed has changed recently.  

The last interaction the girls had is one that Suzy now feels enormous guilt over.  And she is convinced that she must find the reason for Franny's death.  

As Suzy researches jellyfish, her interest borders on obsession, as she even attempts to contact a scientist in Australia to learn more about them.

A lot of what Suzy experiences is her way of grieving.  Added to her grief over Franny's death is also her sorrow over the death of their friendship that was already taking place before Franny drowned.

I loved this novel, and I found Suzy to be an interesting and developed character.  I wondered if she was on the autism spectrum somewhere as she obsessed over jellyfish and seemed to perseverate on some things. I'm not sure tween readers would pick up on it, but her behavior had me wondering.

The amount of information about jellyfish was interesting without being boring or too dry.  I wanted to keep reading and actually enjoyed learning about them.

Benjamin did a great job of bringing closure to Suzy's story without creating anything trite or too perfect.  

I have been hearing a lot about The Thing About Jellyfish and agree that it is a solid tween read that I can now happily recommend to my readers at school.

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