The Thing About Jellyfish Summary & Study Guide

Ali Benjamin
This Study Guide consists of approximately 64 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Thing About Jellyfish.
This section contains 634 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Thing About Jellyfish Summary & Study Guide Description

The Thing About Jellyfish Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Middle school can be hard, especially if you’re struggling with the death of your best friend like Suzy Swanson was in the novel “The Thing About Jellyfish” by Ali Benjamin. Suzy was not the typical seventh-grader. When she saw her best friend turning into one of the pretty girls they’d always made fun of Suzy knew she had to send her friend a message. After all, she’d made a promise. After Franny died of drowning during a beach vacation Suzy grieved not only because she missed her friend but also because their relationship did not end the way it should have. In hopes of redeeming herself, Suzy set about to prove that her friend’s death had been caused by a jellyfish. Through the course of her journey, Suzy learned a good deal about jellyfish along with the finality of death.

When Suzy Swanson learned her best friend Franny Jackson had died while swimming in the ocean Suzy was not happy with her mother’s explanation that sometimes things just happened. She wanted a concrete reason to explain why her friend had died. During a class trip to an aquarium Suzy learned about the Irukandji jellyfish. The stings of these jellyfish were so powerful that many had died because of them. It was believed that deaths attributed to other causes might even have been caused by these organisms. Suzy set about to prove that Franny’s death had been the result of a jellyfish sting. In order to prove her point, Suzy located Dr. Jamie Seymour, a man she considered to be a jellyfish expert especially since he had once been stung by an Irukandji jellyfish. Suzy planned a trip to Australia to visit Jamie. She hoped he’d be able to help her pin down the cause of Franny’s death.

Suzy had more than one reason for wanting to find out how exactly Franny had died. She sought closure not only for her loss of her friend to death but also because their friendship had been such a mess when Franny died. The two girls had been inseparable from the time they met as five year olds. In middle school everything seemed to change. Franny began hanging out with the popular girls and worrying about hair, clothes and boys. Suzy didn’t understand Franny’s new priorities. Franny began ignoring Suzy after Suzy embarrassed her in front of her new friends. Suzy was hurt by Franny’s hatefulness but didn’t retaliate until after a class trip where Franny not only let a boy she liked kill a frog but also spat on Suzy - apparently on a dare from the other students. Suzy made frozen discs of urine that she slipped into Franny’s locker on the last day of school. Franny had once told Suzy to send her a message if she ever began acting like the pretty girls. Suzy hoped Franny would recognize the message and that they could repair their friendship. Because Franny died, the last time Suzy ever saw her friend was when she was walking down the hallway crying and carrying the bags of urine soaked belongings from her locker.

After Suzy’s plan to go to Australia was destroyed when she learned she couldn’t fly internationally alone, Suzy began to come to grips with Suzy’s death. She sat on the floor of the airport and realized that even if she had been able to pinpoint the cause of Franny’s death it wouldn’t have changed the way the girls’ friendship had ended and it would not have brought Franny back. With the help of her family and friends, Suzy realized that Franny would live on through the people who loved her and knew her best.

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This section contains 634 words
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