The biggest problem with being trapped on a jellyfish isn’t what you’d expect. You get over the fear of death (because you start looking forward to it) and the smell of fish (because it quickly becomes your breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Boredom is an issue, sure, but it’s not the main one; the biggest problem is not being able to get away from everyone. Martha is stuck on the back of the jellyfish and has been for a long time. She and everyone else living there don’t know how exactly they got there or how long they’ve been there or where they’re going—they just remember that something traumatic happened. And they can’t escape. But now, the crew has finally had enough. They’re going to escape the jellyfish—or die trying. (Which probably means dying.)
This book is so stupid. I started reading it and it was so stupid it made me question my existence. First off, there are characters named "Pitiful Pete" and "Stinky" and the writing style feels like it is for young kids. But then people are out there having sex and trying to convince people to have sex with them and it curses kind of a lot? So I turned to the back flap and it says "Jelly began life as an exercise with her [the author's] class" and I thought huh that makes sense. And then I looked down and it says "She lives in Berkshire, England" and I thought ohhhh that really makes sense. (cause British people suck. did you get the joke? British people suck.) But I kept reading the book and actually got invested? Its fun and not super serious and kind of refreshing....just like jelly?? And they are actually interesting details? Idk the whole experience was funny just cause it's so absurd and absolutely STUPID I could go on and on. Like the part with the corpses? And James is honestly hilarious. And the part with the canned corn. I want someone else to read it so we can talk about how insane it is.
The initial premise is really quite interesting. However, the writing simply wasn't good. The snarky remarks come off as odd and gross rather than funny. The characters feel very bland as well. I wish the writing was more engaging too, as there was a lot of nonsensical dialogue. Overall, the story could have gone through more rounds of editing in order to truly perfect its gorgeous premise.
(Thank you Netgalley and ABRAMS Kids for the advanced readers copy of Jelly in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
[Gifted] A funny and slightly silly concept - people trapped on board a giant jellyfish! - is pulled off with aplomb, wit and tension. This was so inventive and fast paced and surreal, I loved every second.
It is not often that I read a book with a totally novel setting. But apocalypse survivors trapped on a rugby pitch sized jellyfish floating just out of reach of the coast? New to me!
It was great to read a book that is obviously aimed at teenagers, but is not in the "angst" category. It was actually a pretty realistic portrayal of teens, down to the "sex, eeeewwww" attitudes, and unwillingness to do their homework. I suspect it helped that these were obviously British teens (a daily game of jellyfish rugby occurred), but I would imagine kids of all nationalities would relate to much of this book. Except the "being trapped on a jellyfish" thing. That would probably be new to everyone.
There's a bit of scariness (kids, pursued by giant crab monster), a bit of violence, but nothing too OTT. I liked that the book portrayed the world after a disaster, when monotony and drudge have set in, and no one can quite remember exactly what life was like Before. Usually there is more horror in these books, which for me detracts from the story.
A lightweight, quick read, that young teens, both boys and girls, would enjoy.
This was a wild ride. I didn't think the concept of "trapped on a giant jellyfish" would be taken literally, but it 100% is. Lately I've been DNFing a lot of books, but this one kept me reading right to the end. I'm interested to see where the author's imagination goes yet – I hope somewhere just as unexpected.
The premise of this book seems so cool and that’s why I originally picked it up. But I ended up not even being able to finish this book because it was so confusing and I felt like it wasn’t very well thought out. I don’t think that the author did a good job explaining or creating the story in a tangible and comprehensible way for the reader. Unfortunately this one wasn’t for me.
I liked the idea and premise that this book was built on. A massive jellyfish floating in the middle of the sea keeping a bunch of people kind of, as pets, on its back. The thing that drew me in is the fact that I love jellyfish and also was unlike any other book I'd ever seen. However, I did feel like this book should have been double the length it was. There didn't seem to be enough guts to the plot. I wanted to know more of exactly what had happened to cause the apocalypse, where the Kriks had come from, what all the survivors were like. It just sort of fell a bit flat for me. The first quarter of the book really pulled me in and made me look forward to finding out what was going to happen next. Then after that I found myself losing interest. The story line seemed to be so vague that it couldn't keep itself interesting. That being said I did enjoy the whole setting of Jelly, the post apocalyptic world that Rees had created was brilliant, just perhaps not in enough depth. Overall a book that I read very quickly and found myself enjoying much less towards the end
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
It was a silly nice book! not too bad. i found mysellf trying to like it in the first half of the book , then it got a little weirdly interested , that just made me continue reading all day. it was an experience i will not regret. i sort of wish it continued a bit further after their escape. i started laughing at myself for getting a little emotional at the end. i was really ashamed i did. it's just a cute/weird story to read when you're bored.
An interesting and fun read with quite a unique premise built off the global crisis we are currently dealing with (climate change). I enjoyed it, but there would have to be a bit more to the story for me to give it anymore than 3.5 stars. A quick read that is definitely worth the time it takes.
Okay wow I've never seen a jellyfish this menacing since I watched Spongebob Squarepants S02E29: Jellyfish Hunter (cracking episode btw, 10/10 would watch again). I'm trying to work out where to start with my review for this book but I mean seriously... it's a YA dystopia set on top of a giant killer jellyfish - where do you even begin with something like that?!
Jelly is one of those books that you stumble upon by accident and read the blurb because you're intrigued... except the blurb makes absolutely no sense and the whole things sounds a bit insane so you're like, "Sure, what the hell. Sounds like fun." I love those kinds of books. It's how I discovered Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith and that ended up being one of my favourite YA novels so I knew I had to take a chance on Jelly. And if you've read Grasshopper Jungle there's actually quite a lot of overlap. They're both dystopian apocalypses told from the perspective of teens. They both depict the end of humanity brought about by some weird-ass animals - jellyfish and lobster-boys called Kriks in Jelly, horny six-foot tall praying mantises in Grasshopper Jungle. And they both feature absolutely absurd plots that make zero sense but are super fun to read!
(And yes, I did say lobster-boys and horny six-foot tall praying mantises, and yes, you do now want to read both of these books. I told you these bizarre plots are just too damn irresistible!)
Anyway, back to the review.
What I Loved One of the things I loved about Jelly is the way it completely throws you in at the deep end (see what I did there 😏). We're on a jellyfish, we have no idea how we got here, but these characters have been stuck here for like two years and they are seriously bored as hell. I love it when dystopian novels put you right in the middle of the narrative without giving you all the details. Why are these people on a jellyfish? How did they get there? How have they survived for so long? How is a jellyfish big enough to carry 20-30 people?! So many questions! Clare Rees does an excellent job at drip-feeding you information, revealing only snippets of life before the apocalypse to keep the reader guessing as they try to put together a timeline of events that led up to this dystopian nightmare. And it's super effective. Let's be real, very little can happen in terms of plot when your story revolves around a bunch of people stranded in the middle of the ocean, but not once did I find myself skipping paragraphs or skimming through pages. Rees's writing is compelling and even the most mundane aspects of the story made for enjoyable reading. I felt like a detective, searching through her prose with a fine-tooth comb for some clue that might suggest how these characters ended up in their gelatinous predicament.
Another thing I loved was how much thought went into depicting life on the jellyfish and how time away from land affected the main characters. Rees really thought about everything, from the essentials like finding food and fresh water and protection against the elements, to the little things like trying to remember the feeling of solid ground and working out how to fashion clothes from carrier bags. There's this one scene where the protagonist, Martha, talks about forgetting colour because she's been out at sea for so long:
"I'd forgotten about colours on the Jellyfish. I knew them, obviously, and remembered them, but I think they'd got paler and more washed-out in my mind, alongside the memories. When you're used to just seeing greys, whites and browns, you do forget, and the perfection and amazement of a colour like orange, or red, is difficult to describe."
You can tell that the author has really thought about how it would feel to be stranded in the middle of the ocean and it's in these scenes where Rees's writing is at its best. I found myself contemplating how I would cope if I were in Martha's shoes. Who would I be close to? What would I do to pass the time? What trivial things might become treasures to me? It's a really thought-provoking concept and the writing is so immersive that it's impossible not to picture yourself trapped on the jellyfish alongside Martha and her companions.
Which brings me to my next point - I loved the dynamics between the Jelly-residents (yes I am calling them that) and their varying degrees of sanity. There's this real sense of community between this misfit bunch and I loved seeing how their days were structured around things like jellyfish rugby, lectures, fitness/combat training and schoolwork in order to pass the time. Everyone had their own role and you could tell that even though these people started out as strangers, there's this strong bond between them all. My personal favourite was crazy Old Albert with his Dire Warnings: "Mark my words, and think about your coming death. Do you want to be eaten by a killer jellyfish, or do you want to have your flesh gnawed by a giant crab?" Jeez... remind me never to play Would You Rather with this guy.
What I Didn't Love Despite all the things I loved about this book - and I really did love it - I felt like there were a few areas where the author could have taken things a little further. We spend two thirds of the book stuck on a jellyfish just floating in the ocean and yeah, okay, I'm fine with that if there's a pay-off at the end of it all - except it didn't really feel like there was. Around the 200 page mark, there's a real shift in pace and this is where the story starts to get exciting. I'm trying to avoid spoilers so I'm not going to say what happens, but there are some major developments and this is where I was hoping to have some of my questions answered. And just as the action kicks in, the book... ends?!
All of that build up for maybe fifty pages or so of excitement and then it just cuts off. Truthfully, I was a little disappointed - but that's only because I was so invested in the world Rees has created. I needed some closure - answers to how this dystopian world came to be, why the jellyfish took these people in the first place, whether there were survivors on the mainland. The answers to my questions were just skimmed over and they didn't provide a satisfying resolution at all. I'm holding out hope for a sequel because there's still so much left to be explored. What is out there beyond the jellyfish and what will change for the main characters once they reach land? With another 100 pages or so, this book could have been truly brilliant. The backstory to Rees's dystopian world could have been more thoroughly envisioned and there would have been space to explore how certain developments that crop up towards the end of the book would change trajectories for the main characters.
My only other issue (and this one was a biggie) was a rather major decision that the main characters make right at the end of the novel, which I felt contradicted the novel's message. I'm not going to spoil anything by telling you what happens - all I'll say is, throughout the novel it is repeated on multiple occasions that our current climate crisis is what ultimately leads to the world going to 💩:
"I guess, back in Before I feel like people spent a lot of time pretending, and ignoring things. They didn't believe sea monsters existed even though there were loads of stories about them and loads of sailors said they'd seen them; everybody still pretended they didn't exist until those people were dragged under the sea and drowned. And in Before people also said there was nothing wrong with the planet even though sea levels were rising, and the climate was changing, and strange weather was happening. All the people in the world ignored the problem and waited for somebody else to fix the planet. But while they were waiting it just got more messed up."
The book is clearly intended to be read as a parable about the consequences of neglecting the environment, which I totally get. But then right at the end ____ tells _____ that she needs to ______ and so _____ decides to _____ the ______.
ADSJNASBKJVBNDAJFBJDV - WHY?! IT MAKES NO SENSE!!! 😭
Sorry... I know that was extremely vague (and slightly explosive), but I don't want to spoil anything for you so I guess you're just going to have to read it for yourself to find out what I'm talking abut. And once you've read it, you'll know exactly what I mean.
Final Thoughts Overall, Jelly is a great book and a breath of fresh air when it comes to the (sometimes repetitive) genre of YA speculative fiction. It features a brilliant - if slightly bonkers - concept with a loveable cast of characters, and it's one of those rare books that I think are suitable for younger teens - a demographic that's often neglected in YA publishing at the moment. Admittedly, the ending disappointed me a little and there's still a lot of questions that have been left unanswered, but I still loved reading this book and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others. I'm still holding out hope for a sequel because the story is far from over and I'm desperate to return to this world to find out what happens next.
So I was lucky to get a chance to read this book and then Covid happened and I have been in a horrible reading slump. I started this book months ago and was really intrigued by the concept, but when in a reading slump the digital books really get left behind. Realized the archive date was coming up and tried to get it finished in a day. Fell asleep with it in my hands with 50 pages to go and an hour left :( This is just the coolest end of the world kind of story I have ever read and I'm dying to know how it ends!!! I could just kick myself for not finishing it sooner. Come on library copy so I can finish it and pass it on to all the others I think will love it too! This is great for all ages (there is a small scene mentioning sex and grunting, but that is the extent of it. And I do not remember any swearing, so if there was it was rare. This would make for a great discussion in a group and I will suggest it for sure! Just reviewed Jelly by Clare Rees. #JellyYa #NetGalley
Well… it wasn’t MORE stupid than you would imagine at least. Actually the trapped on a giant jellyfish thing wasn’t bad but I wish there would have been more to it. Survival alone isn’t interesting enough for me. Give me some deep seated character problems and any other sorta depth too please.
It was not what I expected to find, though all I wanted was any YA fantasy as I have been reading too much contemporary lately. It ended up being a very likeable dystopian, YA thriller which felt more scifi than fantasy. It actually reminded me of a lot of the Christopher Pike books I read as a teen (similar to R.L.stine books, but always had more character development and depth, and better messages behind the stories)
Despite it being very absurd, implausible and flawed, I found myself pulled into the story - and genuinely freaked out, gagging (!), and really rooting for these characters. I really liked the angle of the story. There are so many ways in which the older generation has left us with a toxic burden, either wilfully or through ignorance - environmental, economic, and interpersonal/intergenerational trauma. The metaphor and message couldnt fit better with the time. Easy, enjoyable read.
This book is about a girl named Martha who’s literally trapped on a massive jellyfish and obviously wants to get out.
The concept of the book is so unique, set in a post-apocalyptic world that isn’t so far fetched from what could actually happen in real life. It was a fun, quick read and i enjoyed it more than i thought i would.
As for the parts i didn’t like that much were that it kind of reads like a middle grade, but with some not-so-appropriate content here and there. The main character felt kind of naïve and immature but i guess that’s what happens when you’re stuck on a jellyfish for years.
overall, i enjoyed this book.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC of this book!
I'm not entirely sure what I think of this book. I like the way the characters are - the way they live and interact, the way they're indomitably teenagers despite the situation they've been living in since they were very young. I like the jellyfish and the kriks (well, I like the way they're written - they're not at all likable as characters go). But what I don't like is the lack of background - I'd really like to know how this bunch of people got marooned on a giant sentient jellyfish. But they can't remember. And I find that really dissatisfying.
Still, I wanted to know what was going to happen next, and I enjoyed Martha's narrative, so overall it was a good read.
Weird. That’s the perfect word for this book. I didn‘t love it 100% but also didn‘t hate it. I just enjoyed what I read. It was a generic read for me which I rarely have. Its really hard for me to review this book properly so I‘m not haha. There are plenty reviews that will be so much more helpful.
(But the cover inspired me to crochet a jellyfish so bonus points for that!)
What a wonderfully weird book. It is exactly what you'd expect: a group of people are stranded on a giant jellyfish (although whether or not it's a jellyfish in the truly scientific sense is a topic of hot debate) and are determined to escape. This is probably the most light-hearted post-apocalyptic story I've ever read. Instead of rivalries, alliances, and betrayals that typically coincide with dystopians, there is almost a celebration of the mundane. When you're stuck on a giant squishy sea monster, it's easy to get bored, so you gotta do what you can to find enjoyment, from plastic bag fashion to jelly rugby.
It wasn't until near the end of the book that I realized the jellyfish is not only a metaphor for climate change, but also for childhood. The heroes of our story are four teens of indeterminate age and even though they're constantly referred to as "children" and dismissed just as quickly, they are the brains behind all the plans that actually work. And just like the environmental crisis of today, we place all of the burden on young people to carry on, yet refuse to take them seriously because of their age. Won't somebody please think of the children.....because we don't want to.
The future is scary. It's easy to look back at the past and fool ourselves into thinking it was safer and happier and secure, but of course it wasn't. Things definitely aren't safer now, so maybe they never were. What changes are our perceptions of danger. Choking hazards aren't really a big deal for adults, but that's a whole different story for a toddler. Jellyfish aren't so terrifying right now, but maybe one day they will be.
I received an eARC copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This book had a very interesting premise. I really enjoyed the idea that humans have essentially ruined the planet (or at least, ruined ocean life enough that it chose to fight back) and they must now deal with the consequences in this dystopian. I liked that the teenagers in the novel made comments about how the world is essentially ruined for them and that need to be the cause for change - even with life comes at you very scary crab like monsters! I was very pulled into the book in the beginning because it was such an absurd concept and Rees has a very easy writing style to get into. But my problem with the novel lies in the fact that there just did not seem to be anything else besides this concept and its commentary. Aside from very direct lines commentating on the themes of the novel, there was no other meat to the plot. I think, were the novel to be a bit longer and had more of an engaging plot, I would have really enjoyed it. Overall while I did enjoy the first quarter of the novel, it began to slog and lose my interest. I still think this take on post-apocalyptic was interesting, I just wish it had more depth.
The premise of this climate change YA survival tale: a group of apocalypse survivors have been trapped on a rugby-pitch-sized jellyfish floating just out of reach of a partially submerged coastal town. They've been living as such for years, though it's not clear how many years, but the four "kids" in the group are old enough to resent being called kids, and old enough to realize that pretending sea monsters (and climate change) don't exist isn't going to erase their catastrophic effects. None of the story is believable in a strict reality sense. Incredible is a constant and so is narrator Martha's intimate-pal tone that implies, 'I don't know why this stuff's happening. It just is. But check this crazyness out. Can you believe it?' Thus, I was all in from the start. However, the narrative's pacing lagged in the second quarter of the 304-page novel. By the midpoint, though, the action accelerated and the tension mounted. A fun read that will have you rooting for these characters and their (our) world.
[Thanks to ABRAMS Kids/Amulet Books and NetGalley for an opportunity to read an ARC of this book in exchange for my opinion.]
3.5 This was an unforeseen banger. And the cover is GORG. And the setting is so extremely unique like what even… stuck on a jellyfish?! I actually really liked it and the characters were fab and you gotta love a book for 12 year olds every now and then 😍 I kinda just wish there was more resolution at the end. What happened to bae Dr. Jones? What were the jelly’s motivations? What will they find at the castle? And most importantly, how old are they really?! Also I lowkey feel bad for the jelly?
I picked it up on the recommendation of a website I trust (desperately wishing I’d checked the reviews on here too) and because I love a dystopian novel, but I found this really disappointing.
I don’t want to write a long review, but here are a few of the things I didn’t like about this book.
Lack of backstory: we’re told that two types of sea monsters emerged due to climate change, but not a lot else. In some parts, it seems like they’ve been on the jellyfish for nearly as long as they can remember. In others, it insinuates they haven’t done a winter before on there. We’re also told very little about how they live day-to-day on the jellyfish (except for toileting, which is brought up frequently). Obviously the idea is unrealistic, but I feel like it could have been brought to life a lot more with some more specific details.
Main character: she was irritating and bossy, and even though she was a kid and had no real reasoning behind her decisions, everyone just seemed to go with it.
Other characters: aside from the fact that most were completely undeveloped, and even the main four had not a lot about them except that they were ‘typical teenagers’ who really only cared about shopping and fart jokes, the other characters didn’t even keep to their MO. They spend half the time defending the children and keeping them safe, and then ditch them at the first sight of an emergency.
Random, irrelevant events: the crime fighters with multi-coloured hair who then appear nowhere else again? What are they about?! And the random sex which adds literally nothing to the story and isn’t mentioned again? 🙄
A half-attempted message: I guess this story was meant to be a criticism of climate change and plastic waste in the sea, but it wasn’t expanded on enough to have any sort of impact. These are important messages to be sharing, but this book failed to do anything with them.
I could go on, but I won’t because I’ve already wasted enough time on this book. It’s a unique premise, but executed poorly in my opinion. ⭐️1.5/5⭐️
This is one heck of a weird book. It took until about 30 percent before I was oriented to the story. Although I liked the way the author keeps you guessing about literally everything for the first quarter, it also made it difficult to get into the book. Around the 50 percent mark thing started to be cleared up and there was more of a linear narrative structure. These people are trapped on a giant Jellyfish, they have no idea how they got there. It seems like the rest of humanity may or may not have been obliterated. The cause of this seems likely to have been the rising seas and destruction of habitats which resulted in some creatures called kriks exiting the sea and eating all the people. The people on the Jellyfish- which may or may not actually be a real jellyfish, have been their a heck of a long time. Various escape plans are hatched and fail.
My biggest issue was that I didn't really care about any of the characters. The characterization was pretty thin. The main group of characters are some teens. They have some pretty broad, basic personality traits. James is the boy who makes nasty jokes, one of the other girls is angry all the time. I can't remember their names because I wasn't really invested in them The narrator and the other girl are pretty nondescript.
In short, at first I wanted to keep reading to to find out what the deal with the Jellyfish was. Then, I wanted to see how their first escape attempt would go, but then the pacing and the lack of interest in the characters put me off and I didn't really want to read it anymore.
I don’t know what I was expecting from this book, but it was a complete surprise. The characters are literally trapped on top of a giant jellyfish floating around the ocean.
As the oceans rise and pollution increases, long-buried sea monsters come out of the depths. The kriks, giant crab creatures, rule the land and are hunting humans to extinction. On the seas, a giant murderous jellyfish is keeping a collection of humans as pets - feeding them fish and trapping them in its gigantic tentacles if they try to swim away.
This book was charming in a ridiculous way and brilliantly plotted. It kept me turning pages to see if the characters would ever find a way to escape and live on land again. I also loved the descriptions of the jellyfish and the ocean trash that floated their way. The world came alive in my head.
The characters - Martha, Kate, James and Lana, the four teens trapped on the jellyfish - win the reader’s heart.
The story didn’t address a few things I wish it did. We never find out why the jellyfish wanted to keep humans on its back. And I’d have loved a few more pages at the end. But definitely one of the most unique books I’ve read in a long time!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The concept of a community of survivors living on a giant jellyfish sounded good at first. Although their daily life seems strange. It seemed they had lived there a couple of years or so as the children on there who seemed 15 or 16 did not remember much of life before. What happened was not really revealed, a bit too glazed over. However, the jellyfish keeps them on there, they cannot leave, until they start having ideas after seeing a bunch of humans killing the kriks, crustacean type beings that have been hunting humans down on land. They get to land then fight off some kriks, then the four children decide to go back and kill the jellyfish before seeking shelter they know is safe inland. It's a strange read. I didn't connect with any of the characters and felt it was a meld of stories I had read before like the last ones left alive, but the zombies are crab beings, and Rain. I'm assuming they went off and found the rest of the community but they didn't really seem to care much. Not did I really.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Gorgeous cover (the one above is different than the one I have, which is very colorful). It was the cover of this book that drew me in. Also, the idea that, after what can only be seen as the apocolypse, there are many people stranded on the back of a jellyfish, out at sea? Yeah, sure. SIgn me up. This sounded like an exciting book. But do you know what happened? Nothing. Nothing happened because those folks were stuck out on the water, on top of a jellyfish, until they weren't. I'm sad to say that the cover was the best part of this book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I don't usually rate DNFs but the writing on this is just bad. and I felt anyone who is interested in this plot (because it is an incredibly interesting plot) should see actual ratings.
The writing is mediocre at best, and after 4 chapters nothing was happening and I wasn't engaging with anything. I wanted to love this book because just... the concept is so good. I am still sitting here debating if i want to give it up but i also have no desire to pick it back up because i found it so boring to read.