The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin 343 pages
This book was so amazing. I try to read a few chapters of all our new books, just so I can speak knowledgeably about them to our young patrons. I couldn't put this one down. The story is about a girl, Suzy, who is just in the first part of seventh grade who decided to stop speaking. She states that small talk amounts to nothing, so she may as well say nothing to begin with. Suzy notices that she becomes nearly invisible, a fact she thinks very interesting...do we see more with our ears than our eyes, she wonders? The main part of the story, though is her moving through a heavy guilt and grief. You don't find out until near the middle of the book why she feels guilty, but the grief is due to her best friend drowning while on vacation. Suzy hates that because of something she did the last image she has of her friend was Franny walking away in tears. Suzy doesn't want to be the bad guy in this story and becomes fixated with finding out if perhaps a jellyfish sting is really responsible for the drowning. There were several points in this story where I felt for this kid so much, I was crying. The author did an excellent job of giving this character a believable voice and a realistic story. No one was over the top mean, or precocious, or exuberant. It was a very believable story, which was why it was so moving. I highly recommend this to all ages, but probably 5th grade and up will appreciate it the most.