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The Thing About Jellyfish

Everyone says that it was an accident... that sometimes things "just happen." But 12-year-old Suzy won't believe it. Ever. 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.

But as the history of the friendship is slowly revealed through flashbacks, it becomes clear that the relationship was struggling: Franny was leaving her socially awkward friend behind, and Suzy's confused attempt at reconnection made things worse. And when her grand plan is foiled by the adults in her life, Suzy will have to open herself up to getting help from the people around her instead.

Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe... and the potential for love and hope right next door. This stunning debut novel, a finalist for the National Book Award, explores how grief can open the world in magical ways.

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"Benjamin skillfully blends time and narrative to slowly reveal truths about Suzy: first and foremost that their friendship was over long before Franny's death. The girl she had once thought was her best friend decided it was time for a middle school social upgrade, choosing popularity over her awkward childhood pal. Suzy's decision to seek revenge and remind Franny of their bond backfires, destroying what was left of their relationship. Consequently, Franny's death is the impetus for the protagonist's mission of personal reconciliation for the guilt and regret she feels over their falling out....Benjamin's inverse approach to tragedy, placing the death at the beginning of the novel and storytelling through the grieving process, transcends the trope, as the story triumphs in the affecting realities of emotional response and resilience." -- Juliet Morefield, School Library Journal

Product Details

Recommended Age 10 and up
Author Ali Benjamin
ISBN 9780316380843
Publication Date Sep 22, 2015
Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Award Winners National Book Finalist, Parents’ Choice Award
Language English