Title: The Thing About Jellyfish
Author: Ali Benjamin
Date Published: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rate: 3 of 5
About: The story revolves around Zu. Zu is a twelve-year old girl coping from the death of her best friend—a death that “just happened”. She drowned and no one knows why when the girl is an excellent swimmer. Zu goes in a quest on researching and trying to pinpoint what really caused her death.
First of all, let me say something about the cover. It’s so beautiful! I just want to appreciate the book in its entirety and not just the content. Hehe. Okay off to the story.
I liked how the story was systematized according to academic research. It’s not every day that you see a fiction book like this. Also, I have been quite surprised because I thought this would just be a light-hearted reading but I was very wrong. The book tackled issues that are all too real even in childhood such as divorced parents, fading friendships, loneliness, school, bullying, etc. I have no qualms about that because it just made the story all the more interesting. I loved how every few chapters there are little snippets on what is really happening. As far as I can remember, there are no lulls in the book. All was working towards the ending.
*some spoilers ahead*
Okay, so Zu wanted to research if Franny (her bestfriend, well former bestfriend) died because of a jellyfish sting. The Irukandji jellyfish. The problem is that she can’t research on her own about this—she needs an expert. An expert to prove that Franny died because of a jellyfish sting. The expert she found is in Australia. She wanted to go to Australia. She technically did fraud by stealing his father’s credit card details and stole some money. Some part of me didn’t believe that she would manage to go to Australia alone. But in my head I was thinking, Hmm, let’s see. I mean it is a story anyway so maybe she CAN manage to go to Australia and get away with it. But she didn’t even board the plane. And I was pleased. Because, the book stayed on the reality of life.
Zu grieved. She grieved of the death of her best friend that has managed to lost touch with her. She stopped talking after her death—she talked only when it is quite necessary. That was her way of grieving. She wanted to resolve this big thing that has been boggling her. She wanted to know why her best friend died, just wanted to grasp why death has come to get Franny.
The ending of the book though somewhat abrupt gave me a feeling of conclusion. I knew beyond the words in the end chapter that Zu will be fine. She will learn how to handle it. And finally she has already come to terms that it may be that her bestfriend is gone, life has stopped for Franny but the world still goes on. And that she IS alive and that SHE needs to live.
So what do I say to close this review? Such a powerful book on accepting death and coping up with loss in the perspective of a child.
I hope you get a chance to read it!
P.S. I changed the name of my blog from ‘The Lake of Shining Waters’ to ‘The Book Weirdo’ because, well, I felt like it was such a stupid name for a book blog. Don’t you think? Haha. Anyway, here’s to hoping I won’t change the name again! 😛