The Thing about Jellyfish
By Ali Benjamin
Little, Brown and Company, 2015. 343. Young Adult
Suzy Swanson is a scientific minded seventh grader who is trying to navigate a new school and new peers, but that's tough to do after her best friend’s sudden death. Then one day Suzy learns about the tiny, almost invisible Irukandji jellyfish whose venom is among the most deadly in the world. This fact sets Suzy off on a quest to learn all she can about Jellyfish and to prove what she thinks really killed her friend. Benjamin’s novel follows Suzy's path to emotional healing but also explores themes of communication, friendship, and ultimately self-acceptance.
This is a bittersweet but fantastic book. The characters are genuine, the themes are meaningful, and Benjamin's writing style is lovely. Although this might seem like a book for younger readers, I think older teens and adults will relate to Suzy's search for meaning and understanding when the only answer offered is, "Sometimes bad things just happen." This book is a must read.