Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 3 - 8Y5.046150
This stunning debut novel about grief and wonder was an instant New York Times bestseller and captured widespread critical acclaim, including selection as a 2015 National Book Award finalist! Oddlot Entertainment has acquired the screen rights to The Thing About Jellyfish, with Gigi Pritzker set to produce with Bruna Papandrea and Reese Witherspoon.

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don't just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published on September 22, 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0316380865
ISBN-13: 9780316380867
69 Book Reviews
  • eagle_fan11
    eagle_fan1125 days55 stars
    This book was AWESOME I've read it two times and I couldn't get ENOUGH of it! The story is about a girl named Suzy Swanson, who really has a natural love for animals, science, and math. Her best friend, Franny, loved learning new things with Suzy until they reached middle school age. Franny decides she wants to hang out with girlier girls, and wants nothing to do with Suzy anymore unless she tries to be a "normal girl" like her. Suzy is insulted by this because she thought Franny was her friend, so she plans what she calls a "sign" to wake her friend up before she becomes like the other popular girls. Unfortunately, this revenge does not go over well and when Franny dies in a tragic accident a few days later Suzy blames herself and stops talking out loud. She then gets a idea of how her friend died, and decides she has to prove it. Very well written book with encouraging life lessons. LOVED IT.
    • bsc
      bscabout 1 month44 starsFeatured
      This book made me think a lot more on coping from losses as well as an emotional book. When Suzy Swanson's best friend, Franny, (or was) died during a vacation at the beach, Suzy has became mute. But deep down Suzy knows that there must be more to the story. So during a field trip to the local aquarium, it's there Suzy learns about the Irukandji jellyfish, whose sting can make the victim be in so much pain and even drown. This must be the reason why Franny tragically drowned. Giving a detailed and passionate presentation about jellyfish, she's sure that people will understand at what she's getting at. Unfortunately, they don't. Instead, they think she's weird and crazy. Persisting, Suzy is doing her own research. A special scientist that studies specifically on the Irukandji jellyfish might be the key for Suzy. But getting there might not be so easy. This book isn't just about jellyfish: it's about understanding, forgiveness, hope, and coping. Happy reading!
      • emmakatepascual
        emmakatepascual8 months55 stars
        I absolutely adored this book! If you are interested in realistic fiction, mystery, adventure, or really any kind of genre!
        • indecisive
          indecisive9 months55 stars
          Twelve year old Suzy doesn't talk anymore. To anyone, really. Ever since Franny (her best--well, former best friend), passed away, she doesn't feel like it. As she deals with loss, she develops a theory about how Franny died. She knew that Franny couldn't have just died while on a sunny beach vacation; it seemed too unlikely. But if she was stung by a jellyfish in the ocean . . . Well, that's what Suzy's thought process was, anyway. As Suzy spends endless days researching jellyfish, she becomes obsessed. She discovers that one-hundred-fifty million people are (painfully) stung by jellyfish every year. She researches various jellyfish specialists, and what they do. She needs to know why Franny died. She'll do all this research for Franny. And partly for herself because, well, Franny and Suzy weren't getting along well right before Franny's death, and she feels guilty about it. As Suzy struggles through hardship, loss, and pain, she has yet another terrible/wonderful idea that might require her to travel far, far away across the globe alone (and away from her family). I would rate this (ever-so-slightly depressing) book five stars because it was well written and entertaining to read. Phenomenal story!
          • hedgeguin2
            hedgeguin2over 1 year
            I saw this book on my library’s website, and I want to read it so bad! The summary of the book sounds like this book will be amazing! I can’t wait to try and check this book out! :)
            • lovetoread26
              lovetoread26over 1 year55 stars
              This book is very well written, and very inspiring. I think that one of the themes/main ideas of this book is dealing with loss. 12 year old Suzy loses her best friend, Franny, to the ocean. But Suzy feels terrible about it, because she had a fight with Franny right before she died. Join Suzy on her journey through dealing with loss and trying to make friends. I don't think it is extremely sad, but if you are very emotional you might not want to read this book.
              • ccswishingstar
                ccswishingstarabout 2 years33 stars
                Suzy Swanson has always known many things that other people don't. She knows about the sleep pattern of ants, that there are about 150 million jellyfish stings on Earth every year, and knows that every average middle school kid contains about 20 billion of Shakespeare's atoms. But, Suzy couldn't understand why Franny Jackson's life had to be so short, and before she could make up for the worst thing she ever did to her. She then goes into her silent world in her imagination and discovers that the world wouldn't let her escape into her sorrow and grief...
                • ajg16
                  ajg16over 2 years44 stars
                  Suzy Swanson's best friends Franny Jackson died while on vacation, she drowned. This last time Suzy saw her she was crying because of something Suzy did. She'll never have a chance to say sorry now. Suzy will not give up on trying to prove exactly what happen to frankie , frankie was a strong swimmer, so she couldn't have just drowned. Suzy comes up with the conclusion that it had to be a deadly jellyfish sting. She hasn't spoken since and the people around her try to make her happier again. This was an amazing novel, it was a sad story with an interesting twist and it had amazing facts recommended for 12+ Thanks for reading -Ajg16's reviews
                  • auntieb
                    auntiebalmost 3 years33 stars
                    "Shoot Me if I ever become like that." is what Franny said. Suzy and Franny are best friends. Then in 6th grade Franny changes, she starts worrying about her hair, clothes, and what other people think about her. She also starts hanging out with popular (and pretty) Audrey. Suzy decides to send Franny the signal they had talked about. One that couldn't be missed. But then it all goes horribly wrong. The last time Suzy ever saw Franny was her crying carrying plastic bags down the hall. All because of her.
                    • im a catabout 3 years
                      MY FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME!! Read this book. It's sad but also amazing. All my friends I've recommended it to have loved it, too. Honestly, even if you don't like how it sounds, still give it a try. This book has led me to other books that I love as well. 1.9 billion out of five stars