The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

24396876“Sometimes you want things to change so badly, you can’t even stand to be in the same room with the way things actually are.”

After the death of her best friend, Suzy sets out to prove that the drowning accident happened as a result of a jellyfish sting. She cannot accept her mother’s explanation that “sometimes things just happen” believing there has to be a reason, and after coming across information about jellyfish, she is sure that is the cause. Through careful research and planning she is determined to prove her theory.

The Thing About Jellyfish is a beautiful story about coping with grief and loss. It is written in a unique and interesting format, with the book split into seven parts, each representing a section of a research paper: purpose, hypothesis, background, variables, procedure, results, and conclusion. We also get flashbacks throughout to Suzy’s time with her best friend Franny and the significant events in their friendship.

The author portrays the emotions and struggles in a very relatable way, giving voice to Suzy through clear and elegant writing. It delves into the challenges of middle school; growing up, growing apart, fitting in, and finding your place. It also does a wonderful job of representing the joys of learning and the wonder of science. The Thing About Jellyfish is a novel that makes you feel, and leaves you with a lot of interesting information about jellyfish.

Favourite quote: “The trick to anything is just believing you can do it. When you believe in your own ability to do something, even something scary, it gives you an almost magic power. Confidence is magic. It can carry you through everything.”

*ARC provided by NetGalley. Publication date: September 15, 2015.

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