Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Thing About Jellyfish

Have you ever read a book that, besides the compelling plot and characters, employs a tone which just pulls you in? To Kill a Mockingbird is one such book for me, but so is today's featured book: The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin (Little, Brown and Company, 2015).


When I cracked open this book, my kids were up and running around post-dinner, and I still managed to read half of it in one sitting. It is that much of a smooth page-turner!

The premise is that Suzy loses her once-best-friend to tragedy, and has decided to stop speaking as she works through her grief. She cannot understand how people are satisfied with saying "Sometimes things just happen," and seeks a better explanation for her friend's death. While on a school field trip, she becomes convinced that a rare jellyfish sting is what caused her friend to drown, and sets out to prove it. 


Divided into sections based on the Scientific Method, the book follows Suzy as she makes a hypothesis and plans a procedure for proving her theory. But it is the Background of her story that has her consumed: she is plagued with confusion and regret. Through her whole-hearted focus on her investigation, she hopes to makes sense of it all.

This book is inspiring and heart-breaking all at the same time. Suzy's family is incredibly supportive and give her the space she needs to grieve in her own way. I found myself taking notes from these fictional characters on how to love someone where they are. But it also evokes thoughts and emotions of past friendships, broken relationships, regret, and loss. It is powerfully moving.


Written in a graceful and honest tone, with fascinating information about jellyfish and their world, and themes of love, loss, and belonging, it is truly a book you won't want to put down. And it has garnered much praise: it is a New York Times Bestseller, a National Book Award Finalist, and has also been applauded for encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Ali Benjamin has said that this book was born out of a failed attempt to write a nonfiction book on jellyfish. Well, I'm sure glad she pursued this story from a different angle. Enjoy.

~Jen

8 comments:

  1. This sounds like an amazing book!

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  2. Thanks for your beautiful review. I'm putting this book on hold at the library now!

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  3. Wow! I definitely need to read this one, and maybe have my daughters read it as well! We are working on making the scientific method a more natural part of our lives and this sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing this post at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina

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  4. Wow! I definitely need to read this one, and maybe have my daughters read it as well! We are working on making the scientific method a more natural part of our lives and this sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing this post at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina

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  5. Just got the book will be reading soon. Thank you for the review it sounds wonderful.

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