Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Since the death of her former best friend, Franny, Suzy has decided to not speak.  The girls first met in a swimming class when Franny swam across the entire pool on her first try.  That's why Suzy doesn't believe her friend could have just drowned.  On a class trip Suzy reads about the Irukandji jellyfish, a jellyfish so toxic that just brushing one of its tentacles can make a grown man beg for death.  Suzy decides that Franny must have encountered an Irukandji jelly and sets off to prove her theory, ultimately deciding she needs to travel across the world to speak to the man she believes holds the answers. 

Wow, what a story!  Like many of my favorites it is a quiet, slow-growing story that sneaks up on you.  Suzy is a great, intelligent narrator who is completely relatable in her struggle to figure out how middle schoolers act.  She is unflinchingly honest when showing the reader the slow dissolve of her friendship with Franny without completely throwing Franny under the bus.  A really lovely sad, heart-breaking, realistic, hopeful book.