Monday, October 12, 2015

The thing about jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Its the end of summer, a new school year has begun. Last year had not ended well, now Suzy's best friend from childhood has drowned.  Its an accident that just could not have happened, Franny was an excellent swimmer.  Suzy begins to question that it was accidental and wonder if a jellyfish sting could be fatal.  She has also stopped talking to anyone, except if it cannot be avoided, and mostly it can be.  Suzy's search for answers tor her friend's death leads her to research jellyfish extensively and there are a lot of fun facts here.  The research project doubles as a school project which includes a hated oral presentation.  It also includes a desire to meet, personally a jellyfish researcher who resides in Australia.  

This is Suzy going through grief and guilt over last school year events and trying to deal and having a hard time.  Her parents (divorced) and teachers try to be supportive but she is rather rejecting.  Even her brother and his mate, guys who attend college, try to help her.  She has counselors as well.

Things come to a head when she carefully plans to travel alone to Australia and meet the scientist.
It includes stealing her father's credit card, stealing cash to carry and a lot of planning.  But, not quite enough planning.  There are things that a 12-year-old just doesn't know.

I really enjoyed all the science in this middle school fiction book.  I suspect some readers may not.  
It is a nicely done story of a person finding her/his way through grief and guilt to acceptance and self forgiveness.  Folks looking for diversity might want to note the gay couple neatly woven in to the story.

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