Monday, October 26, 2015

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH

Just a warning -- this is a sad book that may make you feel like crying. I read this one as an e-book from my local library.

Description from Amazon:
After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.

The Thing About Jellyfish was written by Ali Benjamin and published by Little, Brown and Company in 2015.

My Take:

If you like stories that make you feel a lot of emotion, this is a good choice. I found it quite sad. The difficulties of friendships and fitting in during middle school are portrayed realistically. Suzy had an interesting character. One of the things I liked most about this novel was the integration of scientific facts and information about jellyfish.

As a writer, I also admired the way the author used language to show the pain that Suzy was feeling. It’s a good example of a story where a character undergoes an emotional transformation.

Opening Line:

“A jellyfish, if you watch it long enough, begins to look like a heart beating.”


“During the first three weeks of seventh grade, I’d learned one thing above all else: A person can become invisible by staying quiet.”

“I liked that so many things were out there, waiting to be known.”

“Over time, as people forget you, your silhouette gradually fades into darkness until the final time anyone says your name on this planet. That’s when your very last feature—the freckled tip of your nose, or the heart-top bubble of your lips—fades for good.”

Other Info:

As a child, Ali Benjamin spent many hours catching bugs and frogs. Her love of nature is what inspired The Thing About Jellyfish.


  1. I read an occasional sad book. Too many strung in a row tends to drag me down. This one sounds like a great premise. I've added it to my books to read between two happier titles. Thanks for the preview.

  2. This sounds like such an emotional story. I loved the quotes, even though they make me sad.

  3. I just managed to get my hands on a copy of this last week! And I can hardly wait to read it (even though it's sad...). That's a beautiful opening line.

  4. I have heard about this book and hope to get to it soon. A good cry is a healthy thing. Thanks for the post.

  5. I'm reading this book now and I love the voice. It is sad but also I can see it as a mirror and in a strange way a comfort for someone having similar feelings or loss.

  6. This is the one novel nominated for The Cybils that is hard to find! My library has a bunch of holds on it.

    I think sad books like these appeal to adult readers of middle grade; not sure how much the actual middle grade age-group would get into it. I agree with Joanne: the opening line is just great. Looking forward to eventually getting my hands on it!


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