Suzy is 12 when her best friend, Franny, drowns one summer at the beach. It takes two days for the news to reach Suzy, and it’s not something that she can accept: Franny has always been a strong swimmer, from the day they met in swim class when they were just 5. How can someone all of a sudden, just no longer be there?
Suzy realizes that they must have got it wrong: Franny didn’t just drown – she was stung by a poisonous jellyfish. This makes a lot more sense to Suzy’s logical mind than a random drowning – cause: a jellyfish sting; effect: death. Suzy’s journey to acceptance is quiet – she resolves to either say something important, or say nothing at all. But it’s also bursting with bittersweet humour, heart-breaking honesty, big ideas and small details.
This book is suitable for readers between 9 and 11 years of age.
It’s peculiar how no-words can be better than words. How silence can say more than noise, or a person’s absence can occupy even more space than their presence did. This stunning debut novel about grief and wonder was an instant New York Times bestseller and captured widespread critical acclaim, including as a 2015 National Book Award finalist.
Ali Benjamin has written for the Boston Globe Magazine, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living and Sesame Street. She is a member of the New England Science Writers and the co-author of Tim Howard’s The Keeper: The Unguarded Story of Tim Howard (2014), and Paige Rawl’s Positive: A Memoir (2014), which is a coming-of-age memoir that was a Junior Library Guild selection and the first-ever nonfiction selection for The Today Show book club. The Keeper was a New York Times Best Seller in sports. Ali Benjamin has additionally authored The Cleaner Plate Club (2010) with Beth Bader, which is a guide for parents to help them feed their kids a healthy diet.