The Thing About Jellyfish

Ali Benjamin. Little, Brown, $17 (348p) ISBN 978-0-316-38086-7
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.)
Reviewed on: 06/08/2015
Release date: 09/22/2015
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-0747-3
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-316-38084-3
Prebound-Glued - 352 pages - 978-0-606-40218-7
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