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The Thing About Jellyfish

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  28,201 ratings  ·  4,114 reviews
This stunning debut novel about grief and wonder was an instant New York Times bestseller and captured widespread critical acclaim, including selection as a 2015 National Book Award finalist!

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting--things don't just happen for no reason.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published August 18th 2015)
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Reese Wilson I read it in fourth grade, then read it 3 more times in fifth grade, but I believe this book is meant more for middle-schoolers. (But is is AMAZING!)
George i am considered a Sr and i got a lot out of it. i took it as more of a quest in the style of `Don Quiote` Counting heart beats, visualizing heart wo b…morei am considered a Sr and i got a lot out of it. i took it as more of a quest in the style of `Don Quiote` Counting heart beats, visualizing heart wo brain, marking time, being different, fitting in, getting answers, public speaker (or not). the list of themes is endless...perhaps too many to write a sequel??(less)

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Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-recent
"If people were silent, they could hear the noise of their own lives better. If people were silent, it would make what they did say, whenever they chose to say it, more important. If people were silent, they could read one another's signals, the way underwater creatures flash lights at one another, or turn their skin different colors."

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy refuses to speak, and she is determined to discover the true cause of why the unthinkable happened. As
Elyse  Walters
Update: Kindle $2.99 special today. Its wonderful!!!

If you want a book to feel uplifted and inspired ... this is a terrific choice... written by very bright talented author!'

Thank you 'Little Brown Young Readers', Netgalley, and a 'new favorite' author--
*Ali Benjamin* for the opportunity to read this.
Ali Benjamin wrote a book to be very proud about... she makes science come alive --and has us fall deeply in love with our young narrator.

Middle School year
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Thing About Jellyfish, Ali Benjamin
The Thing About Jellyfish is a 2015 children's novel written by Ali Benjamin, her fiction debut. The book follows Suzy Swanson, the protagonist and narrator, who theorizes the death of her friend, Franny Jackson, was caused by a jellyfish sting. Suzy has just started the seventh grade, which is the second year at Eugene Field Middle School in fictional South Grove, Massachusetts. During their sixth grade year, Franny became interested in boys and started to
Hannah Greendale
The Thing About Jellyfish is the heartrending tale of Suzy Swanson, a little girl who just encountered the Worst Thing: death. To make sense of her grief, Suzy turns to the wonders of the universe and the dazzling expanse of her imagination.

Suzy's take on the world is both academic and poetic, despite her young age. She has one of the most romantic worldviews yet encountered in a children's book:

I liked the way patterns repeated themselves in this universe, the way a solar system could resembl
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:


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^^^That’s a boldface lie. I read this book months ago, but I suck at keeping up with reviews so I’m just now getting around to saying something about it. First things first – this is a MIDDLE GRADE novel. (In case you’re wondering – I rate books according to how I feel they hold up when compared with others in their genre.) That being said, this is a very important middle grade story and y’all can just color me
Wendy Darling
I liked the narrative voice, and at first I was intrigued by the connections drawn to jellyfish. But there were a LOT of jellyfishy facts, and I kept wondering why I didn't feel anything for this story of a girl who's so traumatized by her former best friend's death that she will no longer speak.

Then I finished it, and found the author's note at the end, which says that the story was born from "failure:" because it started out as a nonfiction essay about her fascination with jellyfish. That mad
Neil (or bleed)
"There's no single right way to say goodbye to someone you love. But the most important thing is that you keep some part of them inside you."

The Thing About Jellyfish is a heartfelt and touching story of grief, acceptance, friendship, family and fitting in. A profound novel with a plausible voice of a girl who grieved of her loss and sought for the answers at the same time.

It is a middle-grade novel that centers to Suzy Swanson and her mission to unravel the mystery (or prove her theory) beh
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it

دیشب رفتم پردیس کتابِ خیابون دانشگاهمون. اگه ساکن مشهد باشین، می‌دونین این‌جا چقد جای محشریه. حداقل به چشم من. با وجودِ این‌که خیلی سرد بود و داشتم سگ‌لرررررز می‌زدم، این‌قد خوشال بودم که ریز ریز می‌خندیدم و بلند بلند با خودم حرف می‌زدم! و به شدت جلو خودمو می‌گرفتم که قِر ندم- به ویژه که چندروزه رگِ لگم بدجوری سرماخورده و گرفته- بدون توجه نسبت به عابرهای بنده‌خدایی که مجبور بودن صدای جنون‌آمیزمو تحمل کنن و آوازخوندنای بداهه و دیوونه‌وارمو :)) این کتاب برام عجین شده با کلی خاطره‌ی خوب. از دیشب و
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review also on

“But a person doesn’t always know the difference between a new beginning and a forever sort of ending.”

Suzy Swanson stopped talking when her best friend Franny died in a drowning accident. Channeling her lingering guilt over her last encounter with Franny and grief, Suzy turns to silence and science. Refusing to take her mother's stoic explanation that things just happen, Suzy shuts everybody out and obsessively works out a grandiose plan to prove that a jellyfish sting is the
Jun 26, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an okay read. I’m seeing everywhere online that this is going to be a movie?... to be honest, I feel like it’s going to be one of those rare times when the movie ends up being better than the book..... 🤷🏼‍♀️ Zu is a 12 year old girl who struggles to fit in. When her BFF drowns while on vacation, they’re not on the best of terms. Zu kinda loses it. 🤭 She’s convinced her BFF got stung by a jellyfish. There are tons of facts about jellyfish in this book. 🤔 In fact, I kinda felt like the fa ...more
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
The thing about this book, The Thing About Jellyfish, is that it didn't quite turn out to be as good as I expected it to be. The story was not original, that is one thing for sure. There are several other novels which I've read belonging to the same brotherhood, blindly following the same storyline, the central character working on some sort of a science project, dealing with death and dark demons and yada yada.

Initially, I felt that the facts about jelly fish weren't properly stitched into the
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. This book was everything.
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Thing About Jellyfish is a beautifully written middle grade novel about the evolving nature of friendship, the labyrinth of discovering one's true identity, and the search for explanations to the mysteries of life. Being a science nerd wannabe, I relished all of the scientific facts in this book and how the book's parts were divided into the parts of the scientific method. I also enjoyed the author's anecdote in the acknowledgment section about how this book was born from the failure to get ...more
Maria Espadinha
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amor-Ódio e Medusas

A amizade , quando íntima, não raras vezes funciona como uma balança amor-ódio:
Há períodos rosa, com tudo a flutuar à nossa volta, em alternância contínua com outros mais negros. Partilha-se o Céu! Partilha-se o Inferno!...É assim agora e sempre, amen!...

Imagine-se agora um caso de perda que sucede num desses períodos mais obscuros.
Duas jovens são melhores amigas e uma delas perece num acidente, numa fase mais assanhada da sua relação. Como reagirá aquela que fica?...

É uma sit
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Thing About Jellyfish is a touching tale about a young girl whose best (and only) friend drowns while on holiday. As the story progresses we discover that Suzy’s grief is much more than just the loss of her friend, but frustration at something happening without apparent reason, and regret about the things that took place between them before her friend died. Such a lot for a young soul to carry. I finished this last night, but I’m still feeling emotional about it. I’m so pleased I discovered ...more
Julie Christine
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
On a Sunday evening a couple of weeks ago I met three friends for drinks and tapas at a favorite wine bar in town. We're writers, the three of us, one with nearly two dozen novels published—she and I are launching our next releases together in September, her 19th, my 2nd. Another will celebrate her debut, a literary fiction psychological thriller, in early 2018. And the third friend is in the agent query trenches with a novel that could be adult literary fiction or YA, depending on the spin and ...more
May 31, 2019 marked it as don-t-count  ·  review of another edition
Is that they're jerks. That's all you need to know.

(view spoiler)
One of the best middle grade novels I've ever read. "The Thing About Jellyfish" by Ali Benjamin beautifully deals with the tragic aftermath of grief and loss. Suzy is a very unique and slightly eccentric 12 year-old who stops talking after the death of her best friend, Franny (who perished in a drowning accident). As she tries to process her grief, she becomes fascinated with jellyfish after a class trip to the aquarium. Suzy starts to ponder if maybe Franny could've been stung by a deadly jelly ...more
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 /5
Kitap daha doğrusu Suzy o kadar içime işledi ki. 12 yaşında bir çocuk nasıl böyle bir kederin içinde olabilir aklım almadı. Ama kitabın en başında Suzy'nin diğer çocuklar gibi olmadığını anlıyorsunuz. Arkadaşını kaybetmiş olmanın onun üzerinde yarattığı etki o kadar güzel işlenmişti ki, kalbinin kırıklığını ben kalbimde hissettim.
Suzy, Franny öldükten sonra geçmişi telafi etmek için onun asıl ölüm sebebini bulmaya kafayı takıyor ve peşine düşüyor. Franny'nin boğulduğuna bir türlü inanmay
“It's peculiar how no-words can be better than words. Silence can say more than noise, in the same way that a person's absence can occupy even more space than their presence did."

The Thing about Jellyfish reminded me of my love for middle grade books, and why no matter how old I get, I will always return to them.

Check out my buddy Neil's glowing review for this amazingly heartfelt novel! I wanted to write a review, but his sums it up far better than I could do it justice.

“In the end, it
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
این کتاب رو دوست داشتم نه به خاطر این که داستانش قشنگ بود چون داستان خیلی خاصی نداشت و البته اصلا هدف هم این نبود بلکه به
خاطر اینکه منو وارد قلب یه دختر دوازده سیزده ساله کرد و باعث شد کاملا احساساتشو احساس کنم.
تو طول خوندن کتاب انقدر غم از دست دادن دوستش به من منتقل شد که دو روزی رو با حال بدی سپری کردم و واقعا غمگین بودم طوری که وسوسه شدم کنار بزارمش اما نزاشتم و خوشبختانه تونستم با سوزی این مرحله رو بگذرونم.
مدل نوشتن کتاب جالب بود و حرف‌ها پر از معنی. طوری که می‌چسبید به دل و درگیرم می‌کرد
Vitor Martins
"Talvez seja isso que acontece quando uma pessoa cresce. Talvez o espaço entre você e as outras pessoas da sua vida fique tão grande que você pode enchê-lo com todo tipo de mentiras."

Eu sou apaixonado por histórias que mostram o mundo a partir da visão de uma criança, então, comecei essa leituras cheio de expectativas. E não me decepcionei <3

Suzy e as águas-vivas é uma história sobre família, perda e amizades que não duram para sempre. E a autora consegue falar sobre tudo isso com muita sens
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who enjoyed Counting By 7s; kids who were bullied in middle school for being studious
The whole theme of this book is that people deal with loss in different ways. Did I expect this middle-grade book to handle loss the way a YA book would? No. So was I very pleasantly surprised? Yes.

My mom actually bought this book for me when I was in fifth grade because it was "on-sale", so I've just had it lying inside my bookshelf for years. It came to my attention to read it about a year ago but I only ever managed to read it now. I honestly didn't expect it to be that great, because my best
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016, tenho
Que livro lindo, singelo e profundo!

Não tinha expectativas altas e não esperava me sentir da forma como me senti durante a leitura. Amei ser surpreendido pela escrita e pelos personagens. Mas vamos enaltecer, primeiramente, a escrita. Ela é simples, mas TÃO sensível. A autora consegue pegar pequenas coisas e transformar em conceitos e frases que te deixam olhando para o infinito e pensando por um minuto inteiro. Eu fiquei apaixonado pela linha de pensamento dela, e em como ela encontrava essas s
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah Suzy... Sen ne kadar naif, ne kadar tatlı bir çocuksun. O kadar içime işledin ki.. Hayata, arkadaşlığa bakışın,düşüncelerin çok güzel. Kesinlikle okunması gereken bir kitap bence. Aşktan fantastik olmaktan uzak çok gerçekçi bir roman. Bu tarz bir romana ihtiyacım varmış gerçekten. Çok severek okudum...
Jun 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Çok şey öğrendim. Tüm genç okurlara tavsiye ederim!
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting--things don't just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope r
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
The Thing About Jellyfish is a young adult book centered on grief at a young age. Suzy, “Zu”, loses her best friend and in dealing with this tragic, unexpected loss, decides to minimize her speaking with the outside world.

It’s definitely a YA story but a touching one, that reminds readers of the traditionally tough age and mindset of middle-schoolers, and that everyone deals with grief in different ways. I also enjoyed the elements of Zu’s curiosity and interest in learning - Science was never
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
اثری جالب و قابل توجه در بخش نوجوان که بچه ها از خوندنش لذت میبرن و بزرگترا درکش میکنن
این کتاب کاملا بر اساس نظریه ی معروف پنج مرحله ی اندوه ساخته شده و فک میکنم در آخر به خوبی میتونه به نتیجه برسه و منظور خودش رو برسونه
داستان اصلش یه مقداری کلیشه ای بود ولی خب با وارد کردن عروس دریایی ها به داستان یه حس جذابی بش داده بود
در مجموع داستان لذت بخش و جذابی بود و من خیلی دوسش داشتم
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,25 sterren. Nederlandse hardcover. Gevonden in de minibieb Venlo. 🌷🌷🌷Durven en angst overwinnen. Gepest worden. En het toch zo verwoorden dat en 12/13 jarige het kan lezen en begrijpen. Echt een aanrader voor op school. Misschien zelfs in de les maatschappijleer. 🌸🌸🌸
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YA Book Club!: The Thing About Jellyfish 3 13 Sep 22, 2020 02:28AM  

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Ali Benjamin has written for the Boston Globe Magazine, Martha Stewart's Whole Living, and Sesame Street. She is the co-writer for HIV+ teen Paige Rawl's coming-of-age memoir, Positive, which will be a lead title for Harper Teen this coming Fall, and which will feature an introduction by Jay Asher. She is a member of the New England Science Writers. - See more at: ...more

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“If people were silent, they could hear the noise of their own lives better. If people were silent, it would make what they did say, whenever they chose to say it, more important. If people were silent, they could read one another's signals, the way underwater creatures flash lights at one another, or turn their skin different colors.” 80 likes
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