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Benjamin, Ali: The Thing About Jellyfish.

Benjamin, Ali

The Thing About Jellyfish

Macmillan, 2016, pp352, 10.99[pounds sterling]

978 1 4472 8383 6


Suzy has chosen not to talk. Her profound unhappiness and loneliness after the death of her friend, Franny, and her inability to make new friends in middle school has made her decide there is no point in saying anything unless it is genuinely worth it. Science is Suzy's favourite subject at school, and after a school trip to an aquarium and a chance encounter with the jellyfish exhibition, Suzy decides to explore the world of jellyfish for her term's project in order to find an explanation to her friend's death. Was she stung? Is that why she died?

Written in the first person narrative from Suzy's viewpoint, the novel moves from present to past, revealing Suzy's feelings and relationships and a way of coming to terms with Franny's death. The novel is also written in the format of a scientific report with the sections titled purpose, variables through to conclusion. Detailed scientific knowledge about e.g. space and quantum physics, is a central part of the narrative, and although this is not likely to appeal to everyone it is nevertheless interesting and adds without distracting to the plot and narrative. Suzy comes across well as a shy yet self-sufficient child who loves her family. The relationship between her and her brother as well as with the science teacher is well written. This is a sensitive novel which explores themes of friendship, grief, love, science, growing up and jellyfish.

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Author:Jacques, Sioned
Publication:School Librarian
Article Type:Children's review
Date:Jun 22, 2016
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