Tag: Summer break

The Thing About Irukandji

In the novel The Thing About Jellyfish, Ali Benjamin develops an intriguing protagonist who goes through dynamic changes from the cause of a heartbreaking incident.

In Suzanne’s life, she has gone through myriad obstacles dealing with friendship. Franny was Suzanne’s only friend at school who truly understood her, they shared a close bond for years. However, as they entered the 7th grade, their friendship between them began to shift. Franny got pulled into a different crowd, a crowd she used to despise. As time passed, Suzanne and Franny began to drift apart as if they were strangers. During one summer, Franny went on vacation in Maryland, Suzanne heard the news of Franny drowning days after. Suzanne never truly understood how she could’ve drowned. *spoiler alert. From that day on, Suzanne spends countless hours on the web researching, convinced that her best friend’s death was caused from the “ghostly and transparent, [Irukandji]” (Benjamin 180).

Many of these situations changed the way Suzanne faced her classmates, and in life in general. However, before all of the conflicts began, Suzanne’s personality was entirely different. She was a loquacious character, who enjoyed communicating and sharing her knowledge with others, especially Franny. Suzanne’s mother would constantly need to remind her that “‘It’s not a conversation if you’re constant-talking’” (51). Suzanne is filled with random information and energy; she knows that “rabbits’ teeth never stop growing, […] and that the longest rabbit ears ever seen were thirty-one inches” (51). Not many people know these facts, or even care, but Suzanne does. Suzanne’s curiosity and loquaciousness makes her stand out.

Being different than others don’t necessarily help Suzanne with her situation. When her best friend Franny said, “‘You’re just. So. Weird’” (132). Commenting, saying how Suzanne’s interest in facts is a strange hobby, where Franny was the one who loved hearing them the most. Overtime, people do truly change. After reminiscing about the memories they shared, there was a question that stood out to Suzanne. It made her wonder, “if [Franny cared] about the things I don’t understand, and [she doesn’t] care about the things I do understand, what will we have to talk about anymore?” (115). If there’s nothing to talk about or relate to in friendships, then why does it still exist? This began to make Suzanne truly understand that their friendship won’t ever go back to the way it was. Even after all the reminders Suzanne gave, nothing had changed.

Suzanne is obsessed about finding out the verified reason behind Franny’s death; unconvinced that she just drowned. After weeks of research, Suzanne was certain that the cause was from the Irukandji jellyfish. Days after Franny’s death, Suzanne began to be more detached to her school life. After a presentation about the Irukandji jellyfish, her classmates started calling her ‘medusa’. Suzanne was very passionate about the subject and all the events that happened in her life made her go a little derange, which was part of the reason why the nickname was made. After what everything had happened, Suzanne “had already decided: [she] wasn’t going to make conversation. Not that night, and maybe never again” (70). The loss of her best friend caused depression and made her close off the whole outside world. This was such a big problem even her parents started to lose hope. They brought Suzanne to “Dr. M. Legler, child physiologist” (54). Even these sessions couldn’t help Suzanne, she still refused to speak. Each session was exactly the same, silence.

A devastating incident will change the way people act. Suzanne used to be a bright, bubbly character, but she had become depressed and deranged, too determined to find out truth. The fact that Suzanne decided to not speak isn’t that big of a problem, she is still the same person she used to be on the inside. The only difference is that she is obsessed with the death of her best friend, Suzanne is not able to let go of the reality of what had happened. “They are moving silently, endlessly, all of them, through the darkness of the sea” (111) The incident changed Suzanne’s life, and so did the new discovery of the Irukandji.




The Bargaining


The book cover is based off the novel The Bargaining by Carly Anne West; it is filled with quotes that shares the theme of the thrilling adventures of the protagonist, Penny. This novel is about Penny and her stepmother April needing to repair an abandoned house known as the Carver House. This house is set deep in the forest of the North Woods where haunting memories and secrets are revealed. The theme of the story is to make things right when you get the chance, don’t dwell on the past and live in regrets. In the story, Penny has myriad regrets in life; letting an innocent girl get beaten up for something she didn’t do, choosing to be Rae’s friend then causing internal pain. These memories haunted Penny, made her see things and hear whispers calling her name in the woods; getting herself stuck in a hole of guilt and fear. So by musing over the past won’t change anything, the only way is to make things right because it’s never too late. *Spoiler alert Penny soon learnt this lesson as written letters and reappearing hallucination begins to appear.

The book cover I created was made on the website Canva. For the cover, I used a picture of a forest as the background because the most of the story is set in the North Woods and this information is vital. This was where the theme starts to unravel and where Penny’s thrilling adventures begins and ends. The locks I added to the branches of trees portrays the hidden secrets that each character withholds, then adding the phrase “The secrets behind the Carver House” shows that the main situation that needed to be solved was the history behind the house. The selected quotes are phrases from the novel about the relationship between Penny and Rae. The quotes also represent the theme of regret and guilt which are also the conflicts Penny encounters throughout the captivating novel.

Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2016. 

Canva. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

Yahoo. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

Behind the Secrets

“The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny” (West). She pushes through, ignoring the reoccurring conversations her parents have. This situation does not affect how Penny lives her life. Penny is a courageous, independent and percipient character who has numerous characteristics and complication she faces that makes the novel “The Bargaining” by Carly Anne West, captivating throughout the haunting mysteries of the Carver house.

In the novel, Penny’s parents recently got a divorce and she currently lives with her dad, her stepmother April, and her stepbrother Rob. This situation forces Penny to be able to learn how to survive on her own; being more independent.  The exposition of the story was when Penny was forced into going on a road trip with April during the summer. When they took a break from driving, Penny lost sight of her, “[she looked] back towards the jeep. Still no sign of April” (West 58). In this scene, Penny began to search for her April in the woods; hearing voices in the forest of trees frightened her, yet she still continued to look for her. To remember the paths, Penny “[used a tube of lipstick and drew] a daggered red X across the bark of the tree” (West 59). When people are alone and are feeling anxious, they tend to forget about basic skills. However, Penny controlled her emotions and focused on finding April using her existing knowledge to help guide her. This part of the story shows us that Penny is a percipient character who knows how to take care of herself independently; also showing the reader her compassion for helping others in need.

Not only is Penny a brave and diligent character; she is also curious. When she and April arrived at the Carver house, they were subliminal to the true secrets the house hold’s. Soon they began to explore the property they were going to construct. The rising action of the novel is when the hidden details begin to show and Penny soon begins to reveal them. Penny walked to every floor, to every bedroom and began taking pictures. When she lowered her lens, “a smudge on the window [caught her] attention […] [she noticed that it was] less of a smudge and more of a print. An upside down hand print. [she held her own hand] up to it and covered it” (West 84). Penny is very deliberate, she didn’t only just take pictures, she inspected every component of the rooms, even more than April. In this scene, Penny touched the print, cautiously inspected in different angles and was aghast to find out how the wrist needed to bend to create the print. Every little aspect of the house was understood by Penny.

In these scenes, there are many conflicts Penny needed to face. She had to be more independent due to her family’s situation, showing man vs. man. Afterwards, she faced many frightening events during the trip. Penny had to use her inner strength the conquer the fears, showing man vs. self. All of these situations needs a character with a strong inner strength to be able to face these situations. Because of all the characteristics Penny has, this contributed to the way she handled the past events. Penny is a courageous character who has countless characteristics that makes the adventurous events captivating.


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