The thing about jellyfish – Ali Benjamin


It’s peculiar how no-words can be better than words. How silence can say more than noise, or a person’s absence can occupy even more space than their presence did.

Suzy is twelve when her best friend, Franny, drowns one summer at the beach. It takes two days for the news to reach Suzy, and it’s not something that she can accept: Franny has always been a strong swimmer, from the day they met in swim class when they were just five. How can someone all of a sudden, just no longer be there?

Suzy realizes that they must have got it wrong: Franny didn’t just drown – she was stung by a poisonous jellyfish. This makes a lot more sense to Suzy’s logical mind than a random drowning – cause: a jellyfish sting; effect: death.

Suzy’s journey to acceptance is quiet – she resolves to either say something important, or say nothing at all. But it’s also bursting with bittersweet humour, heartbreaking honesty, big ideas and small details.

My opinion

Sometimes I get send press releases about books and when I read them, I immediately know I want to read that book. ‘The thing about jellyfish’ was one of them and I was really happy I got send this book. The picture of the cover does the book no justice, the book is so well designed. You have to see it in real life before you buy it.

And then there’s the story. Since reading ‘All the bright places’ I don’t think a book touched me like ‘The thing about jellyfish. I didn’t really cry whilst readign this book, but I was really touched by the story and really want to get Suzy out of the book to give her a hug.

At the end of the book I did have tears in my eyes, just because it was so moving, but I also recognised a lot of myself in the story. Especially the fact that it really sucks when you lose someone you love. Other than that, the story was surprising because there is a bit you won’t expect at the end, which made the story even better for me.

Ali Benjamin has written a very approachable story which you can relate to. She has a great way of writing and you get to know Suzy pretty well pretty fast, just like the other characters in the book. Ali Benjamin also did a whole lot of research on jellyfish, which made me want to know more about jellyfish after I’d finished the book. The research plays a big part in the book and that gives it a bit more credibility. The emotions in ‘The thing about jellyfish’ have been well-worded and that makes you relate to Suzy even better.


I really think that ‘The thing about jellyfish’ belongs in the list together with ‘The fault in our stars’ and ‘All the bright places’, because it’s another wonderful YA that will certainly touch you.


The thing about jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Published by Pan Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781447292999

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