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The Thing About Jellyfish - FREE PREVIEW EDITION (The First 11 Chapters)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  843 ratings  ·  118 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. R
Kindle Edition, 48 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  843 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm sure I had a review written on this site --
I read this a ways back...
It may be in the YA genre... but I can't imagine an adult not liking this creative wonderful book.


Loved it!!!

Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, ya
What a beautiful book---one of the best I've read in a long time. While the book is not difficult to read and there are some cool facts about science that may interest elementary-aged kids, in the end I have to agree with another reviewer in saying it is probably best suited to middle-school level due to some mature thematic elements. The protagonist is a twelve-year-old girl,Suzy, an extremely bright, sensitive child, who is dealing with growing up and with grief over the loss of her childhood ...more
Art Turton
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. So much so that I am compelled to write a review. For full disclosure, I will state that I am a friend (and running partner) of the author and that my review and feelings about the book have nothing to do with the name of the science teacher, even though she is obviously very bright and astoundingly astute about her students. I am enthralled by the sensitive and knowledgable depiction of children, their behavior, their humor, and their thought processes by authors such as John ...more
Gillian W
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think that this book was very well written and intrigued me right off of the start. The intro of the book, Ghost Heart, had a passage in it that really helped me to understand the main character's thoughts. Here is what the passage reads, "A jellyfish, if you watch it long enough begins to look like a heart beating." I feel like this passage set the tone for the book which I think in most books the intro is supposed to do but in "The Thing About Jellyfish" the intro did more for me than just s ...more
Rebekah Bloxom
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
There is a lot going on in this novel: grief, isolation, depression, denial, and other themes that influence Suzy's growth as a character. Suzy holds a lot of anger in about how she treated her best friend last year, and after Franny's tragic and unexpected death by drowning, Suzy no longer knows how to deal with the pain that has been building up. When entering middle school, Suzy and Franny had started drifting apart, and as Suzy recounts through flashbacks in the novel, their friendship becam ...more
Erin Mash
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The character strength that the main character Suzy exhibits is courage/bravery. As she is dealing with difficulties at home, she also has to deal with her best friend drifting away. Her best friend Franny is beginning to get embarrassed about their friendship and is even treating Suzy in a bad way. Suzy shows courage in this because she continues to focus on what is important to her, science.
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While it started slow the story of growing up and dealing with loss was just so realistic and emotional. The author makes her characters relateable and you understand them, what they are going through. Section by section from jellyfish to the past to Suzy's present day all swirled together like tentacles.
Sydney Valerio
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading, The Thing About Jellyfish. I thought that is a really good representation of a coming of age story. The author Ali Benjamin makes it really relatable and easy to read. It was intriguing and tied science and nature, into a story about a young girl grieving a loss which is something that I’ve never read before.

The character in the story is a young girl named Suzy Swanson, who goes through a traumatic event early on in her life. She has to learn to cope with the death of
Annie V
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ali Benjamins novel The Thing About Jellyfish is a realistic fiction novel about a frizzy haired, science loving, slightly nerdy middleschool girl named Suzy. She could never fit in at school, simply because she and her best friend Franny refused to pretend to be something they were not. The two were inseparable, until they were seperated. Benjamin showed us how Suzy grieved and healed in the most unusual way, involving an aquarium, a jellyfish, and a man in Australia. Most importantly, Suzy’s p ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was definitely always keeping me entertained even though I would have expected a better ending that would have left me satisfied and happy. I still enjoyed it and think that the story was very well described and meaningful. I would rate it a 5 star if the ending was different.
Judi Maylone
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sweet YA book. I learned a lot about jellyfish!
IT Librarian Indian Trail
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
I listened to this and didn’t like the narrator which could have clouded my review.
Lilah Kottke
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-2018
O. My. Goodness. This book was so good. Interesting and easy to read, yet touching enough to make my heart ache. WOW!!!!!!!
Maya Patel
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought the book was just normal, it didn't exceed my expectations but it also wasn't a horrible book. I wouldn't recommend it to a friend but I also would not say it was a "bad" book.
Mikayla Wollan
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading The Thing About Jellyfish. I loved that from the beginning the chapters talk about Suzy’s past and present. This jumps back and forth every chapter. It is made obvious in the book when it is a flashback because of the use of italics. This type of style is appropriate for a young adult audience. This book is well developed. The writer shows the development of the main character Suzy, and why she feels the way she does. Using this point of view is helpful for the readers because we ...more
Alison Van
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin was an amazing book. It is such a creative story that keeps you connected to the book when you read. It was such an easy read and it was a real page turner. I feel so luck that I found this book. It puts my life into a different perspective. Young Suzy, known as Su, goes through a lot in this book.
Su is a young girl who doesn't know who she is after her best friend dies. She is one of those really smart girls, but has no idea what to do. She feels horri
Science is in. This book has a science theme interwoven with grief and functional psychological dysfunction. What's that? When someone behaves off the norm but their behavior is a justified coping mechanism.

I am in awe of Ali Benjamin and wish I could have met her last Spring when I was in Holes Wood, Massachusetts. Fingers crossed she will be making a trip to Oregon one day soon. She has given children a honest, engaging, and beautiful story portraying a girl's struggle with grief and her trans
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 8th-grade
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Denise Vetromile
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get a complete ARC of this book from netgalley. I love, love, love this book! This being said, I will not be using it it for our 2016 Mock Newbery Book Club because it is more appropriate for a middle school audience (6th-7th grade) than 4th graders.

This is a coming-of-age novel, where the protagonist, Suzy, is dealing with both extreme grief and guilt. Chapters alternate between the present and internal dialogue with her deceased best friend. In addition, the author weave
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant and beautiful, with one of the most fascinating, quirky, and utterly believable protagonists I've read in a long time.

I was already in love with this book when I got to this line: "Humans may be newcomers to this planet. We may be plenty fragile. But we're also the only ones who can decide to change."

Yes. Gorgeous!

Another thought: I wish I'd had Mrs. Turton as a science teacher––then things may have turned out differently, and I'd know more about science (other than what I learned from
Barbara Duckett
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting. I read the whole book not just the preview. I finished the same day I started. I couldn't put it down. Written through the eyes of a young teenager, the writer shows the girls grieving process after the loss of her best friend. It tells their story from when they met as 5 year olds and continues for about a year after the friends death. I work at a middle school and can see how true to life this could be. I recommend teens and their parents read this book.
Deborah Bruss
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved the way the chapters alternated between the present and the past events that led up to the conflict within herself. I often stay away from books where the main character is in the middle of middle school angst, but this was so well done that I really felt her pain. The only down side is that I'll be a bit more nervous when swimming in the ocean.
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is lovely. Suzy is such a brave, tortured soul and her messy confrontation with grief is so real. I know sad and coming of age stories have been told before, but not like this. And this random metaphor that weaves the story together is so intriguing and poetic. It just works. Grab tissues or your shirt sleeve or make a mess all over yourself for the last 100 pages. But it's worth it.
Mindy Cheah
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I like books like this one. Easy to read, great narrative, simple story yet at the same time powerful. This book is about Suzy Q and how she coped with the loss of her best friend.
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
this is seriously an epic and awesome book to read. I finished it in 2 days...... One of the best. Make another one.
Lê Lan
the thing about jellyfish.
Kim Parfitt
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great kid voice and moves along well. Sections relating to scientific process seem a little forced. Enjoyable read
Susan McGilvray
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book about love, loss, and friendship; loved it!
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOOOOOved this book
Maggie DeMaria
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book! Seems a little childish at beginning, but draws you in as you go! Beautifully written and you won't believe all of the twists and turns!
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Suzy's Goodbye 1 1 May 27, 2019 03:55PM  

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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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