Monday, November 9, 2015

A giveaway winner -- and for MMGM, a review of THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH

First, I have a winner to announce. The winner of 101 MOVIES TO SEE BEFORE YOU GROW UP by Suzette Valle is:

Susan Gregory

Congratulations, Susan! I'll get your book out to you pronto. 

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And now we return to our regular Monday broadcast, er, feature, MMGM.  See Shannon Messenger's blog for the links to other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts.



The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (Sept 22, 2015, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, ages 10 and up)

Synopsis (from Indiebound): 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.

Why I recommend it: Beautiful writing and an expertly crafted plot. The simple, yet luminous language -- and Suzy's earnest desire -- makes this a joy to read, even though the subject matter is weighty with sadness. It's easy to see why The Thing About Jellyfish is a National Book Award Finalist (winners will be announced November 18) and has earned starred reviews from PW, Booklist, School Library Journal and others. 

Suzy's grief is heartbreakingly realistic. I lost a good friend at age 10 (she rode her bike across a busy street and never saw the truck that hit her), so this moving story affected me deeply. This book should also win at least a Newbery honor in January.

Favorite line: They are moving silently, endlessly, all of them, through the darkness of the sea (from pg. 109).

Bonus: You're bound to learn something about jellyfish!


Have you read The Thing About Jellyfish?  If not, what MG novels have you read that deal poignantly with grief?


24 comments:

  1. Congrats to Susan! Firstly, love the title of this one. This is definitely a delicate topic, but it sounds like it was beautifully and wonderfully written with a touching message. I'm putting it on my TBR list. (I'm terribly sorry about your friend all those years ago. I lost a best friend at a young age, too; he was eight years old.)

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear you lost a best friend at such a young age, Sheri. It's never easy.

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  2. I noticed this was on the CYBILS list this year and your review convinces me I must read this one soon. Another book dealing with a child's death is THE ONLY GAME that I enjoyed very much.

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    1. I haven't heard of that one, Greg. Thanks for the tip.

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  3. I've heard great things abut it. It sounds like a difficult topic but a great story.

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    1. I know your TBR list is already daunting, Natalie, but you should definitely try to read this one sometime.

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  4. I've heard so much about this one...gonna have to make a library trip! Thanks for spotlighting it, Joanne!

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    1. Yay for library trips! Thank you, Faith.

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  5. This book is really getting a lot of buzz. I already have it on my TBR list and hope to get to read it soon. Thanks for the post.

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  6. Wow. This sounds like an amazing book! I have to wonder if I can handle it, though, given that I'm already a tad uncomfortable with jellyfish. They're gorgeous, but I've seen both my kids get stung by (fairly benign) jellyfish and it's made me a little flinchy. However, that doesn't keep me out of the ocean and I don't think it should keep me from this book, either! :D

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    1. No, it shouldn't! Be brave, Suzanne. :)

      I'm sorry to hear your kids have both been stung. I can't say too much about the jellyfish without giving away major plot points, but this is definitely worth reading.

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  7. Wow, this sounds like a really good book. I'm putting it in my cart.

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    1. Yay, Theresa! Hope you like it as much as I did.

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  8. Nice review. This sounds like a poignant story. And I loved the line you shared. One for my TBR stack.

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    1. It was hard to pick out one line I loved the most, Elizabeth! It's so beautifully written.

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  9. Hi Joanne, thanks for the review. It sounds like a good one.

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  10. I love the title, but I wasn't sure I'd want to read a book about death. I am curious about how the jellyfish fit into it, though, and when you say things like "expertly crafted plot," "luminous language," and "a joy to read," I think I might have to risk it!

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    1. It would be worth your while, Kim. I know it's difficult to pick up a book you realize is going to be sad, but there's an uplifting ending. It is MG, after all.

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  11. I was on the fence about reading this one - I think I'll give it a try after reading your review :) I like well written books!

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    1. Hi Erik! Thanks for stopping by. Well written books are always worth reading, even if they're sad.

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  12. This sounds like a book I should read. The cover is great- but the story sounds so deep and I am sure I will learn something. I am thinking I might need tissues nearby too.

    Love, Aubrey is a book that I read and enjoyed that deals poignantly with grief.
    ~Jess

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    1. Yes! Love, Aubrey. Jess, I remember that book, and I loved it so much, even though it was sad. Thanks for reminding me.

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.