Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Ali Benjamin
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Suzi Swanson knows what it’s like to be mindful of facts few other children her age have ever fathomed. What she doesn’t know is that her life will be forever changed when she loses someone she deeply cherishes. When the news of the sudden and unexpected death of her closest childhood friend reaches her, she embarks on a journey of no return. She becomes determined to discover what really happened to her friend. Throughout her quest to find the ultimate “truth” about the circumstances of her friend’s inconceivable death, she unveils some truths about the life she’ll inevitably need to go on living and about growing up in a sometimes unpredictable world.
The Thing About Jellyfish is an extraordinary story of friendship, loss, and new beginnings. This fictional tale is bound to touch the soul deep down inside while filling the reader’s heart and mind with a sense of peace and resolution. It’s both sad and funny, serious and lighthearted, ordinary yet genuinely original. Award winning Ali Benjamin masterfully weaves scientific facts, real locations, and true-to-life depictions into this masterful story that help make it not only interesting but somehow believable. Through her unique style of writing, she reaches out to a wider audience—not just young students, but also those entering their early adolescent years. Though there are a number of chapters, they are all relatively short and succinct. The text is well organized and full of beautiful imagery and rich vocabulary, making this heartfelt story perfect for group reads and literature circles. It’s likely to be a teacher’s favorite and a student’s treasure!