Book Review: The Thing About Jellyfish

Name: The Thing About Jellyfish

Author: Ali Benjamin

Published: 2015

Song: Changes by David Bowie

the thing about jellyfish

It was always Suzy and Franny, Franny and Suzy: they were best friends, inseparable. But, one day, it was just Suzy.

Suzy Swanson stopped speaking the day her best friend drowned. She didn’t understand how it could have happened – Franny was an excellent swimmer. So, she sets off on a mission that will take her to the deepest, darkest corners of the ocean and her memory. 

Written in a graceful and innocent tone, The Thing About Jellyfish is incredibly moving. It’s heart warming and heart breaking, all about growing up and growing apart. Inspired by her Year 8 science teacher, the book is written as Suzy’s scientific study about jellyfish, including an introduction and end. However, this doesn’t affect the storyline or fictional basis but adds a new, unique level to the novel. The entire thing is comprised of short chapters and is quite easy to read – I read it in literally 3 sittings!

My favourite part? The friendships – and loss of friendship. Franny wasn’t always not Suzy’s friend – in fact, they only draw apart after moving to high school. The author includes short snippets of their happy childhood between chapters which contrast dramatically with their current situation as the girls gradually draw more and more apart. The Thing About Jellyfish isn’t a primarily happy book, but is beautiful and well crafted.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read this book? Did you also cry your heart out? Or do you have a book recommendation? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Scarlett and Ivy

Name: Scarlet and Ivy: The Lost Twin

Author: Sophie Cleverly

Published: 2015


An isolated boarding school harbouring a perfectly creepy secret. Twins Ivy and Scarlet have never been separated, until Scarlet receives a mysterious invitation to lonely Rookwood school. 6 months later, she is pronounced dead. No one outside the school knows what’s happened to her; but Ivy wants to discover the truth. So, she jumps at the opportunity when the terrifying Miss Fox asks her to take Scarlet’s place at the school… in more ways than one.   

Ahhh this is my favourite MG series – Sophie Cleverly has certainly led up to her surname! The Lost Twin is the first of an ongoing series about a pair of twins at an elite boarding school. The mystery is highly engaging and I especially loved all the little details the author has given to the characters. Whilst, at some points, I felt that the plot was getting unrealistic, altogether it’s a very original book with a clever twist.

My favourite part was the theme of friends and enemies. Both twins encounter the same enemy at Rookwood, but Ivy also meets a really sweet girl and trustworthy girl called Ariadne who helps her throughout the series. Ariadne has a mysterious past that’s revealed as the books go along – she was thrown out of a boarding school before Rookwood. In The Lost Twin, Ivy can’t find any mention of her sister at Rookwood, but does find her diary hidden in her old room. We learn about Scarlet’s time at the school through extracts of that diary between chapters. Some of the pages have been stolen and Ivy spends the entire book trying to get them back, because Scarlet discovered the secret of Rookwood school and wrote it down on those pages. And then she disappeared without a trace…

The Scarlet and Ivy mysteries begin with The Lost Twin but there are five others out now with the sixth coming out this year. I’m very excited! Personally, I feel like the series doesn’t progress to be bette than the first one, but I enjoy them all the same. It feels a little like the author runs out of scenarios for her characters; but the first two or three are definitely worth reading and I would highly recommend them for fans of the ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ mysteries by Robin Stevens.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have read this book? Want to share a book that you’ve read or got any recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: One Of Us Is Lying

Name: One Of Us Is Lying

Author: Karen McManus

Published: 2017

one of us is lying

Five students enter a detention. Only four leave alive.  
Bronwyn: the Yale – hopeful geek. Addy: the quintessential princess. Nate: the hot criminal. Cooper: the buff boy sportstar. And Simon: the outsider who created the notorious high school gossip app, About That.But he will never post anything ever agin. Simon is murdered 24 hours before he can post their darkest secrets online. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you go to protect them.                

Murder, secrets, romance, betrayal… this book has it all! One of the best Young Adult thriller mysteries I’ve ever read. One Of Us Is Lying follow four seemingly stereotypical teenagers but the plot twist and turns throughout the whole book and will keep you guessing until the very end. The four students become unlikely friends as the story evolves, but you’re always kept guessing who the killer is. It’s written from the perspective of all the characters, which made them extremely likeable and relatable.

It felt quite obvious that some of the main characters would together… but they’re very cute so I’ll let it slide. I like how it carefully shows how toxic some teenage relationships can be and also how the pov includes different character’s perspective on the same situation. But they almost always end on a cliffhanger and I couldn’t put it down. I’d recommend it to teenagers looking for a modern murder mystery with characters you can relate to (well, apart from the bit when they’re suspected murderers.)

But seriously, the secrets are intriguing, the plot is thrilling and that cover is very cool! There is talk of it being made into a movie, which I’m very excited for. A must read for fans of Sue Wallman and John Green.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read this? Want to try it? Or got any other recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Salt to the Sea

Name: Salt to the Sea

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Published: 2016


War torn Germany. Four young people. Four dark secrets. Four teenagers whose lives have been torn apart by war meet, along with thousands of other refugees, in the struggle to outpace the advancing Red Army. All are hoping to board the Wilhelm Gustloff: a ship that promises freedom and safety. But not all promises can be kept. 

Salt To The Sea is the true story of one of the worst maritime disasters of WW2. But, I’d never even heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff. It follows Joana, Alfred, Emelia and Florian who meet by chance in the dark heart of 1945 Nazi Germany. They each have their own pasts and secrets that are revealed as you go along – I was hooked!

Ruta Septys has written this book beautifully. It’s from the perspectives of the 4 main characters, rotating in short chapters between them. It’s effective because the short chapters really emphasise how quickly everything happened and most of them end on cliffhangers. I managed to convince some of my friends to read it and they loved it too. Also, it won the Cilip Carnagie Award back in 2017 which is pretty cool seeing as it was only realised in 2016.

As the characters are older, the book does covers more mature topics. Don’t be fooled by the (albeit gorgeous) cover; I wouldn’t recommend to anyone younger than 12. But that added to the book as well – nothing is sugar coated. It goes to show the true horror that refugees and civilians were forced to live through in world war two.

I’d recommend Salt To The Sea to fans of Michael Morpurgo and Sarah Crossan. It will make you laugh and cry (although mostly cry!) with its unique perspective of the horror of World War Two.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have read this book? Would you try it? Got any recommendations? Let me know in the comments!