Sunday, 21 February 2016

Book Review: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Read: February 21   Verdict: 5 Stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

Suzy is 13 years old and dealing with the death of her best friend who drowned during the summer. When Suzy discovers the vast world of the jellyfish, she decides that a jellyfish sting must be why Franny died and sets out to prove it to the world.

I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did but I absolutely adored it. It was much faster-paced than I expected too. I think because I knew there were a lot of jellyfish facts in it, I thought i would get a bit bogged down in them and it would slow down my reading but nope. I finished this book in one sitting.

Ultimately this is a book about a girl who has just started her teenage years and discovering that the world is a much vaster and confusing place than she originally thought. And with Franny's death, Suzy has to confront the fact that dying is something that happens to young people, and that sometimes things like that just happen for no reason at all.

I really found myself identifying with Suzy. Particularly her issues with friends and everyone growing up that bit faster than her. Her confusion over the sudden gap between her and Franny and why she was suddenly left behind while the girls did their make-up and flirted with the boys. I think a lot of people could feel for Suzy in this one, as she's not the only person who's ever felt left behind.

I loved Suzy's relationships as well. Her family were all amazing. Yes, they did bring her to a therapist to talk about the not talking situation but they never pushed her, or grew frustrated with her. They were there waiting, ready for when she was ready to accept everything and be there for her when she did. Her brother and his boyfriend, yes. I love how there was no big deal about Aaron being gay. There was no in depth story about him coming out or any controversy in the family because of it. Her parents were divorced but still on talking terms, and seemed to still be on pretty good terms considering they were separated. I also loved Mrs Thurton and her quiet observations and suggestions. It's always great to see a good teacher/mentor-student relationship and a teacher really offering that safe haven for a student who just needs that time and space. Ans Justin was just lovely. I really loved his explanations of ADHD and how his medication helped.

This book was such a pleasant surprise and I would really urge everyone to read it, just to see if it will surprise you too.

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