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  • Writer's pictureIshta Mercurio

Cover Collection 21: The Thing About Jellyfish, written by Ali Benjamin, designed by Marcie Lawrence

Welcome to Cover Collection, my (mostly) weekly blog series in which I talk about book covers that I absolutely love, and break down what I love about them. This week, we're going to take a look at the positively luminous cover of Ali Benjamin's middle grade novel, THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH, which was designed by Marcie Lawrence and which features art by Eric Fan and Terry Fan. Drink this in:

A girl stands on a hill holding onto the tentacles of a floating, glowing jellyfish.

I could fall into this cover.

I chose this cover before I knew who had done the art, and when I saw that it was The Fan Brothers, I screamed with joy, because OF COURSE IT'S THEIR ART. It really couldn't be anyone else's. The luminous quality of the jellyfish is trademark Fan Brothers. These two are masters of light.

Speaking of light, look at the sky. It's sunrise, right? You can tell by the way the sky is dark at the top but gets lighter and more gently golden the closer you get to the land. But wait a minute. Look again: see the fish? They're there, but they're placed with such a light touch that you could almost miss them. (In fact, I did miss them the first time I saw this; I didn't notice them until I had finished the book.) I love the way they've seamlessly planted the idea that this kid is under water, because in a way, she is drowning, and this is the story of how she saves herself.

And look at the jellyfish. It's magical the way it's floating there. If we go with the idea of being under water, that makes sense, of course, but we know that's just a metaphor, and so this magically floating jellyfish becomes a beacon of hope. The girl on the cover is clinging to it for dear life. But if a strong enough wind comes along, will it (metaphorically) carry her away? You have to read the book to find out.

Finally, I love the title font. This novel is told in first person, from the main character's point of view, and this title looks like she could have written it herself. It feels like the beginning of a diary entry almost, like the words are coming straight from her heart. And if you read the book, you'll see that they are.

I could go on and on forever, but I'm out of time, so it's your turn. What do you like about this cover? Drop your thoughts in the comments, and let's continue the conversation.

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