The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

  

I picked his one up despite jellyfish being my one true fear mainly because of how pretty the cover was. I think it glinted as I walked past it and I am secretly a magpie. Technically, I believe it was in the children’s section of Asda’s books (next to a Minecraft book and the most recent Diary of a Whimpy Kid book) although like the best Children and Young Adult books I felt like it was appealing to adults too.

The Thing About Jellyfish starts when twelve year old Suzy goes back to school, silent after hearing that her best friend Franny has drowned. Eventually, she decides that Franny must have been stung by a jellyfish as there is no way such a strong swimmer would have drowned otherwise. Every few chapters we get an insight in to what Suzy’s life was like before Franny drowned; how they met and became friends, how they drifted apart and how Suzy’s social issues made it difficult to communicate how she was feeling about it (I am fairly sure that Suzy’s character is on the ASD spectrum as she presents remarkably like other autistic girls I’ve worked with).

Suzy is a really interesting character in that the way the book is written I felt completely like what she was doing was reasonable. You’re inside her head completely and it was wonderful to see the thought processes that went behind her strange behaviour. She wasn’t just the weird kid at school, her actions had definable rationale behind them. It made her seem a lot more rounded and a lot more sympathetic, I really felt for her.

I thought this was a gorgeous little book. It didn’t take me long to read but it was written beautifully.

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