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One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and October 2016 Debut of the Month Twelve year old Suzy’s confusion following the death of her best friend fuels this roller-coaster debut novel. When Franny drowns in a freak accident during the school holiday Suzy finds herself dealing not with the death of her best friend as her mother thinks but with the far more devastating loss of their friendship sometime earlier. Suzy copes by becoming electively mute and by constructing a story to explain what happened to Franny. Moving back and forth between Suzy’s obsessive behaviour after Franny’s death as she finds out everything she can about the lethal jellyfish who is, she is sure, responsible for it and, the last few months before Franny’s death when the friendship unravelled is clever as she loses Franny to the cool set.
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.
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.
Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews here.
A painful story smartly told, Benjamin's first solo novel has appeal well beyond a middle-school audience Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
A moving portrayal of loss and healing Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Benjamin explores the heartbreaking subject of grief in the young with dreamy, meditative and elegiac prose The New York Times
This is a heartbreakingly touching debut about friendship, loss, fear and love that is funny, clever and beautifully written Daily Mail
[an] intense and nuanced tale of friendship, revenge and youthful resourcefulness Guardian
One of the most beautifully written debuts I've read in a really long time -- Sophie So Many Books, So Little Time
Publication date: 22/09/2016
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan
|Publication date:||22nd September 2016|
|Publisher:||Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 9+ readers|
|Genres:||Family / Home Stories, General Fiction, School Stories, Personal Social Health Economic|
|Recommendations:||Debuts of the Month, eBooks|
|Other Categories:||Reviewed by Children, UKLA 2017|
Ali Benjamin has written for the Boston Globe Magazine, Martha Stewart's Whole Living, and Sesame Street. Ali is a member of the New England Science Writers. When not working, Ali wrangles children, drinks too much coffee, sometimes runs, hangs out with friendly dogs, gazes at electron microscopy images of bugs, and teaches kids about storytelling and writing. She serves scrambled eggs for dinner far too often.More About Ali Benjamin