Book Review: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

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The Thing About Jellyfish is my book club’s book of the month last December. I wasn’t able to get into it though, but I made it a point to make it one of my priority reads in January, and I am just so glad that I did. I had the PERFECT first book of the year! This is middle grade and I honestly didn’t set my expectation too high. But boy. It was good. Really really good.

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Title: The Thing About Jellyfish

Author: Ali Benjamin

Date Published: September 22, 2015 by Little Brown Books fro Young Readers

My book format: Kindle version 

Goodreads blurb:

A stunning debut about how grief can open the world in magical ways.

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

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I did not have very high expectations for this one since it’s middle grade and there are just some middle grade books that just doesn’t connect to me. But if it’s connection we’re talking about, then this one definitely hit home base! Only the first chapter and it kept me reading non-stop. It also has the most intriguing introductory chapter as well:

“Because some hearts beat only about 412 million times. Which might sound like a lot. But the truth is, it barely even gets you twelve years.” 

When I read this, I was like WHAT IS THIS BOOK EVEN ABOUT. I was already hooked afterwards and I am so glad with everything that followed.


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The story is simple and there’s nothing really complicated about it. It’s just about a girl, trying to figure out why, and how, her friend could have died at the beach when in fact the latter is a very good swimmer. Her theory? A jellyfish has stung her bestfriend and she launches the most scientific and the most heartbreaking investigation ever. 😦 This whole idea really got me. A girl, barely 15 and still recovering from the loss of a friend, tries to understand how things could have happened and how she could change everything. It was a very sad premise, but a very liberating one at the same time.


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The story revolved around Suzanne, or Zu, as she is fondly called by her mom, and her quest for the reason behind her bestfriend’s death. I really felt connected with her – she’s really smart for her age, she has so much things going on in her mind – theories and realizations and just about everything is going on in her head. I especially loved how some things are supposed to be simple and yet she can transform them into deep realizations and theories a girl her age won’t even bother thinking about.

“The things is, a persons gets so few chances to really fix something, to make it right. When one of those opportunities comes along, you can’t overthink it. You’ve got to grab hold of it and cling to it with all your might, no matter how crazy it may seem.”

“Everything was supposedly over and we were supposed to start getting on with life. But I was sure; I wasn’t going to accept this thing that had happened, the way all those others were doing.”

“Saying goodbye is important. It’s what allows us to begin living again.”

I could go on and on forever quoting my favorite lines from this book. But I guess that would suffice for now until you, yourself, have read it 🙂

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I am giving it 4 heart warming stars. I really liked it and when I’m probably down and feeling lost, I know I’d come back for this one just to remind myself that everything would always get better.


That’s it for now, guys. I’ll see you next post and happy reading always!Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 8.44.32 PM


2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

  1. This sounds like a really lovely read. I know this might sound weird, but I actually really like books that explore grief. (I really liked A Monster Calls for this reason – have you read it?) So, this book sounds like something I would like, especially since it sounds very introspective and thoughtful. It does sound very sad though — BUT, I love books that make me feel an emotional connection to the characters and the story.
    Thank you for the lovely review, Kat. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CW! A Monster Calls is one of my favourites!!! OMG!!! I totally understand your liking with books that explore grief. I think I crave for those as well from time to time! Thanks for droppin’ by CW! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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