Book Review: The Thing About Jellyfish


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Vivian VanValkenburg

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin is about protagonist, Suzy Swanson, and how she has to cope with the lost of her best friend, Franny, after facing a tragic event. This book released in 2015, allows readers to get an insight on what is going through Suzy’s brain as she is in a time of despair. Suzy sets off on a quest in order to prove that her theory that, “things just don’t happen for a reason”, is correct.

The story does have many ups to it as it has a strong educational value, numerous positive messages spread across, and has tons of leads on what a good role model should conquer. It gives many facts throughout the book on jellyfish as an insightful way for the readers to help Suzy solve this mysterious death. It allows the readers to get an idea on no matter what emotions you evoke, there will always be someone by your side.

Even though the book talks about death in a serious manner, it expresses it in a non violent way, so the parents/guardians of the child reading the book aren’t worried about what their kid is being exposed to. It vaguely talks about death in order to give a background to why Suzy is on this quest and lets the readers speculate what will happen in the future.

Ali Benjamin uses a varied word choice to help her reading come to life and play as a vivid movie in the reader’s mind. As I was reading this, I was able to relate to this story as I did face deaths of many people dear to me. I recommend people to read this book as there is at least one topic in the book that everyone is able to relate to, one way or another.

One of the most memorable quotes from the book is “The thing is, a person gets so few chances to really fix something, to make it right. When one of those opportunities comes along, you can’t overthink it. You’ve got to grab hold of it and cling to it with all your might, no matter how cray cray it might seem.” I find this quote to be memorable because it basically sums up what the whole book is about and allows readers to know what the meaning of life is. People are able to understand that when life moves along, to go with it and if you have the opportunity to redo a mistake to take it.

The Thing About Jellyfish highlights many issues in a way where kids will be able to comprehend the point the author is trying to get across. Once you finish reading this, you will feel like you’re able to connect to Suzy on a deeper level and maybe have an understanding on the meaning of life.