The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

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The more fragile the animal, the more it needs to protect itself.
So the more venom a creature has, the more we should be able to forgive that animal.
They’re the ones that need it most.
And, really, what is more fragile than a jellyfish, which doesn’t even have any bones?

Full disclosure: I was a blubbering mess by chapter two. This is such a delicate story. At the heart of it is a young girl coming to terms with not only death and navigating grief, but also the realisation that sometimes friendship tears and unravels much quicker than it can be mended.

Suzy Swanson is 12. She has not spoken a word since her former best friend, Franny, drowned. Sometimes things just happen, people say, but Suzy is logical, Suzy believes in scientific explanation and Suzy is determined to prove that Franny’s death was not a mere accident, but rather the result of a poisonous jellyfish sting.

Driven by bittersweet memories of Franny and a creeping guilt about the way in which their friendship ended, Suzy quietly begins her quest for the truth. Her plans are ambitious, a little too impossible maybe, but for Suzy they hold the hope of redemption for a terrible act and a chance at accepting a tragedy she cannot comprehend.

Suzy’s journey if one of discovery, not only of the wonderful natural world (this book is littered with absolutely fascinating facts) but also of her own world. An everyday world that Suzy slowly, and without even realising, learns to become a part of.

A world in which sometimes things do just happen, and they are heartbreaking and they are often also hopeful.

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