Benjamin, Ali The Thing About Jellyfish, 339 pages. Little Brown, 2015. $17. Content: PG (scene with urine; and while there is one gay relationship in the book, it is a peripheral plot point).
Suzy and Franny used to be best friends, but last year, since the start of 6th grade, Franny was actively antagonistic toward Suzy, choosing new friends and ignoring Suzy. Suzy cements the estrangement by committing a heinous act right at the end of the year. Then Franny dies on summer vacation - and Suzy stops speaking, becoming obsessed with the thought that Franny was killed by an undiagnosed jellyfish sting. Her seventh grade year is a year of challenges and growth for Suzy - a year of obsession, but possibly a year of good changes.
Except for my love of reading, I am not an obsessive person. Even in childhood I wasn’t dependent upon one person for my happiness, but had friends who spanned many different social groups and I would hangout with different people for a wide variety of activities. So I have always had a hard time relating to this recurring theme of children who are deeply wounded by growing apart from their friends. While I enjoyed most of Suzy’s story, her obsession with jellyfish left me a little cold - way too much jellyfish information for me. This will mostly be a book that adults buy for children based on the recommendation of a book seller somewhere - not a book that children will share with each other.
EL, MS - OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher