The Thing About Jellyfish Book Review


Willa Tyler, Journalist


   This book begins with a middle schooler’s (so-called) best friend drowning during summer break. The main character Suzy is devastated secretly, feeling they were still close. This book written by Ali Benjamin is filled with heartwarming and sorrowful moments that make you question reality. If you enjoy drama, realistic, and traumatic events than this is the book for you. At the beginning of the book, the author shows that Suzy Swanson and Franny Jackson are inseparable, they do everything together until Franny changes… Going into seventh grade Franny is quickly maturing while Suzy still likes to talk and do childish things. Throughout the school year, Franny starts to make new friends and they begin to hangout less and less. Unfortunately, Suzy has mild autism, so it was difficult for her to make friends, Franny always understood her and didn’t care if she was different. This made it difficult for Suzy to let go off the thought of her best friend. 

    While reading the book it shows Franny becoming more and more popular and leaving Suzy in the dust. Suzy isn’t friends with Franny for most of the book believing they will become friends again. Summer break approaches and they still haven’t said a word to one another. Suzy is now always alone and finds herself with nobody to talk to. Eventually, Suzy eats in the teachers room not wanting to be seen by Franny and her new friends. A boy later starts eating with her and the teacher, they start to become friends slowly after spending some time with each other. Going into the summer Suzy decides to apologize to Franny not knowing what for so they can become friends again, she finds Franny hanging out with her new friends a realizes that Franny has moved on. Suzy is so upset that she leaves without saying a word, just thinking she will see her next year with a new start. Later in the summer her mom expresses that Franny was on vacation with her mother at the beach, Franny swam to far out to find herself stuck in the ocean. Nobody knows exactly what happened, but Franny disappeared into the water and unfortunately never returned. Suzy has recently found an interest in jellyfish and is convinced that she drowned from a rare jellyfish sting. Suzy is so convinced in her theory that she takes her parents credit card to buy a ticket to Australia to find an expert on jellyfish thinking that will prove shes right. Once she’s bought her ticket around the world the flight attendant won’t let her pass since shes under age to fly across the globe alone. She is crushed with tears streaming down her face knowing that it never could have worked. Suzy’s family arrives to retrieve her after hearing about the incident and tries to understand her plot.  

   In the end, Suzy finally gets home and hears about a funeral coming up for Franny, that’s when it hits her, Franny is gone. Will Suzy survive 8th grade without Franny by her side. Will she make new friends? Was she right about her jellyfish theory? 

   You may wonder what some of the pros and cons are when you’re reading this book, well, let’s start with some pros. This book sends of a positive message to all readers and leads people thinking life is wonderful. It is entertaining with a contrast of emotion, and suspense wondering what will happen next. This book is great for all readers with a good reading stamina and must of people enjoyed reading this book. Although there are some cons that interfere with this book’s great reputation. Some parents don’t approve of the story line being based on a wrecked friendship and a tragic death of a young child. Also, parents don’t like the story saying that autism makes people treated differently or not equal at all times to others.  

   After looking at countless reviews the overall review is 4½ out of 5. Most readers adored this book and would recommend it to others of any age. Adults expressed they love to see what children go through so they can understand some of their own child’s emotions. Younger viewers said this is one of their favorite books and would recommend it to all their friends as a great read. After asking some piers they said a rating 8-10 is the perfect review for this book, it makes you laugh, cry, and includes a sweet message to pull readers in. I would personally recommend this book to anybody from 10 to 100 years of age, I rate this book a 4 out of 5 and have already sucked multiple friends into the great story of Suzy’s traumatic, loving, funny middle school year. This book definitely deserves a thumbs up from me!

   I hope you enjoyed reading this review and read this book to find the great adventures Suzy concurs. Overall, this book is given a great review and loved by all ages of readers, and the pros weigh over the cons, and after much consideration in my opinion this is an amazing book for any reader.