The Thing About Jellyfish
by Ali Benjamin
Beautifully composed and wonderfully told, The Thing About Jellyfish is a moving tale about personal growth and coping with grief. Filled with stunning metaphors, every other line seemed to reveal a great truth about life, and even now there are several quotes that I can not stop thinking about. This story is Suzy’s (the main character’s) journey of self-discovery and growth. Yet, at the end, I felt like I was the one who changed. In my opinion, due to the intensity of the subject matter, I feel that this story might be suitable for an older more mature audience. I highly recommend this book.
A rewarding read.
Poignant, emotional, and moving in the deepest way.
This cover is beautiful. Not only is the color scheme mystical and perfectly matched to the story’s subject matter, the artwork is imaginative and simply ethereal.
I usually don’t feel particularly strongly about book titles but this is one of my favorites. It’s sort of abstract in nature but the way “The Thing About Jellyfish” ties into the story is brilliant.
I read this book a few years ago (when I was actually a member of the target audience) and I didn’t love it. In my opinion (*potential spoilers*), The Thing About Jellyfish deals with some pretty serious subjects, including coping with the sudden death of Suzy’s best friend. It is a heavy topic, one that I wasn’t ready to read about or experience at the time, and to me, the story was just sad and hard to finish. As an older reader, I felt much more comfortable with the subject matter and have a deep appreciation for this story, but young readers might be a bit intimidated by the plot.
In this book, Suzy goes through some dark moments and copes with some difficult things. I feel that this book is heavy. Depending on the age and personality of the reader, it might be a bit generous to call this book middle grade. I would definitely recommend this book, but I would suggest it to an older audience and/or one that might be better equipped to handle the subject matter.
The messages within The Thing About Jellyfish are so powerful and important. Ali Benjamin deals with the subject matter in a beautiful and potent way that really brings so much personal meaning to the book. We can’t all have big life-changing experiences every day, but from watching the journey of characters like Suzy, we can still grow a little bit in character ourselves from the comfort of home (or wherever you like to read). This is the kind of story you might think about long after you’ve finished the last chapter and the cover is closed.
I found that this book was absolutely bursting with quotable moments and phrases, that were perfectly articulated. Benjamin’s writing style, in general, is able to expertly capture movie-like images within words alone. I also loved the way the book was broken down into sections corresponding with the parts of the scientific method. I thought this was incredibly creative and just a nice touch, in general, that added an extra layer of depth to the novel.
The Last Word
The Thing About Jellyfish is a powerful story about learning and growth, but it isn’t, by any means, your typical light and happy children’s novel.
This story has a great message to share, if you are ready for it…
Age Group: Middle Grade (be aware that, in my opinion,the subject matter is heavy and might not be appropriate for some middle grade readers)
Related Cause: Coping with Grief, Environment
Summary: What is the thing about jellyfish that makes them so important?