Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Every so often, if you’re lucky, you find a book – in this case, I stole a copy of this proof off Tarryn Talbot’s desk. It was ear-marked for some more deserving and prominent media person – or at least was going to be. I am rather glad I committed a petty crime with book – I didn’t realise that this little gem was buried beneath the surface.

We meet Suzy Swanson, a rather lovable narrator who doesn’t actually speak. So begins the novel at the point where Suzy cannot come to the terms that "sometimes, things just happen", after her ex-best-friend drowns. Even when she was a good swimmer; or that she wasn’t that nice to Suzy for a while. It’s an incredibly heart-breaking novel, to say the least.

So to try and grapple with such grief, Suzy convinces herself that Franny was stung by a deathly-venomous jelly-fish. So she researches her way around various breeds of jelly-fish, slowly convincing herself that she is right about how Franny died.

As Benjamin weaves a vast amount of information throughout this tiny-looking novel, you learn alongside Suzy that perhaps life isn’t just how it used to be. A protagonist so real and grotesquely hurt she captures the readers heart with one page. It’s easy to see ourselves in Suzy, in the journey it takes her to unpack her grief, her life, and the moment of learning that bad things can just happen.
I don’t want to give you a long-winded review on plot, and on narrative, nor do I want to unpack the woeful battle of grief and adolescence. I do want to tell you that you will have to pick this book up, sooner or later, you will cry, and you will be pulled in (by the collar) and forced to watch this gorgeous girl – Suzy Q – learn about jelly-fish, and make new friends.

For lovers of John Green, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald and E. Lockhart – This is one for the books, get your hands on it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Kelly meets Chris Riddell

Taken from Chris Riddell's website

I am sure you have guessed what this post is about? Well, if not, I am still going to loudly tell you that I got to meet and interview my favourite illustrator/author/person in the entire book world (besides the great Dahl or Suess). Yes. Yes. I got to meet Mr Chris Riddell. It didn't simply just happen, so before I carry on, I have to thank Tarryn Talbot.

Yes, this is a portrait of Tarryn.

I also want to thank Tamarin from I Want a Dodo, who so wonderfully (as she always does) arrived to help hold a camera, get my books signed when I had to rush off, and is just all round awesome. She even went so far as to capture pictures from his doodle book.

While I had big plans to make a video of my interview, and frame Mr Riddell's artwork, it didn't really end up like that. Which is why I owe most of the post to these two lovely ladies (and Mr Riddell of course!).

During his author tour, Chris Riddell, charmed and captivated audiences around the country with his vivid and gorgeous illustrations. Rightly named the Children's Laureate for 2015-2017 (you can follow his Laureate Log on Instagram) I got the profound opportunity to interview him in front of a growing crowd of children at Love Books. If you haven't managed to get your hands on a Riddell book, I suggest you do. You can find a list of his books here.

It's not a blog post without a signed book (or books), in my opinion. 

I even got my very own Riddell original!!!

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