Suzy is exceptionally smart and possesses a near-photographic memory for scientific facts and figures. Even obscure ones--like how many jellyfish stings happen worldwide each year. But when it comes to understanding the more life smart side of life... Well, Suzy is more than a little clueless. Like understanding how someone who was such a good swimmer could drown and just be gone. Suzy just can't wrap her mind around it.
At the beginning of 6th grade, Suzy's longtime best friend Franny ditched her for the popular crowd. Then the following summer, Franny drown while visiting the beach. Suzy becomes convinced Franny was stung by a jellyfish and this is what caused her death. Unable to express the grief and the guilt she feels, Suzy loses herself in research about jellyfish and jellyfish stings. She even plans a solo trip to Australia to speak to a renound marine scientist who specializes in jellyfish. By proving (scientifically, of course) that a jellyfish was responsible, Suzy believes she will come to terms with all the feelings she's unable to express.
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about life, death, and moving on after tragedy. Suzy is a sympathetic character readers will relate to, even if they've never experienced such a loss. Mixed throught are lots of facts about jellyfish (so readers will learn something too). The Thing About Jellyfish is currently found on our New Tween shelf. Highly recommended. --AJB