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Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

AR Level: 5.0
AR Points: 7.0
AR Quiz Number: 176566
Page Count: 343

Drawn to this book by its cover, I immediately was pulled into this story. The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin follows young Suzy Swanson the school year after losing her best friend to a drowning accident. Suzy becomes hyper focused on a specific species of poisonous jellyfish, irrationally certain that it may have been the cause of her friend's death. Complicating issues, the relationship with her friend ended the last day of school the year before, on a particularly unfortunate note.

While Suzy struggles with a range of emotions, it feels to me like she might also be on the Autism spectrum as well, and as of yet be unaware of it. This is an emotionally heavy bit of realistic fiction, and while I enjoyed it, I had to switch to some lighter reading afterwards. I do, however, really appreciate the depth of detail that the author went to to make these character seem very real to me, and surely other readers as well. I would recommend this book to middle schoolers and the occasional very emotionally intelligent intermediate level student. the value in this book is in gaining empathy. Students will so strongly feel as the protagonist feels, that they may get a little bummed out while reading it, but at the same time, they may come away feeling a bit more understanding to people who have lost someone, or even their regular classmates' inner struggles.    

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