An Interview with Denise Vega
For my twenty-fourth Dream Gardens kid lit podcast, I interviewed author Denise Vega about one of her favorite children’s books, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin.
Published in 2015, The Thing About Jellyfish is a story of a young girl trying to make sense of her own guilt and grief. Suzy Swanson and Franny Jackson were the best of friends growing up, but after a particularly awful falling out in middle school, they aren’t anymore. Then Suzy learns Franny has drowned while on vacation, and she doesn’t know what to do. First she stops speaking. Then she latches onto an idea while visiting an aquarium that Franny’s death must have been caused by a jellyfish sting. She becomes obsessed about proving this theory, and cooks up an outlandish scheme to make it happen. But what she learns is not what she expects. The Thing About Jellyfish is a story about lost friendships and new friendships, unsatisfactory answers to impossible questions, the loneliness of being different, and of course jellyfish.
Denise Vega is the author of several YA, middle grade and picture books, including Fact of Life #31, Click Here: To Find Out How I Survived 7th Grade, and her latest book, a picture book titled If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed. She also provides a manuscript critique and consultation service for other authors. You can find Denise’s website at www.denisevega.com.
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