Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

Jessica Character Analysis

Jessica is Shay's best friend and, as Ally sees it, her shadow. She describes Jessica as having few personality traits or interests of her own, as her main goal seems to be following Shay and keeping her happy. Ally sees Jessica's decision to bring in a photo of Shay for a show-and-tell exercise as proof of this. This means that, like Shay, Jessica is mean and bullies everyone that Shay does—though Shay uses their bullying sessions to surreptitiously make fun of Jessica as well as their target. Jessica gradually becomes less comfortable going along with Shay's bullying, especially after it gets out that Shay charges for her friendship bracelets. After Mr. Daniels's lesson about famous people with dyslexia, Jessica and the rest of Shay's followers give back their friendship bracelets and Jessica begins to shut down Shay's attempts to bully others. She even apologizes to Ally for her poor treatment.

Jessica Quotes in Fish in a Tree

The Fish in a Tree quotes below are all either spoken by Jessica or refer to Jessica. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Fish in a Tree published in 2015.
Chapter 11 Quotes

Besides that, Shay, Jessica, and some other girls all have these woven friendship bracelets. And I have never had the kind of friends who have matching bracelets, but I have always wanted them. It's like the bracelet tells the world that the person wearing it has someone who cares about them.

Related Characters: Ally (speaker), Shay, Jessica
Related Symbols: Friendship Bracelets
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
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I'm not perfect, but at least I'm not mean.

And then my heart sinks, because I realize that I just was.

I guess I did it because I was lonely. Now I know that there are worse things than being lonely.

Related Characters: Ally (speaker), Albert, Shay, Jessica
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 24 Quotes

“I laugh. “Uh, no, thanks. I'd rather wear handcuffs.”

I can't believe Shay charges her friends for something that's supposed to stand for loyalty and friendship. And I can't believe they paid.

Related Characters: Ally (speaker), Shay, Jessica
Related Symbols: Friendship Bracelets
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Jessica Character Timeline in Fish in a Tree

The timeline below shows where the character Jessica appears in Fish in a Tree. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Yellow Card
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Jessica brings a huge bouquet of flowers for Mrs. Hall's baby shower, while Max gives her... (full context)
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Shay and Jessica laugh and ignore Mrs. Hall's admonitions while Ally wonders why she isn't used to this.... (full context)
Chapter 4: Bird in a Cage
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Ally hears Shay and Jessica come into the restaurant. Shay feigns concern that Ally didn't return to class, and Ally... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
While Mom is in the kitchen, Jessica and Shay laugh that Ally's mom is a waitress. Shay says that Ally could be... (full context)
Chapter 7: No Grandpas Here
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...front of her with his hand held out. He introduces himself to her, causing Shay, Jessica, and their friends to laugh and say that he must not know about Ally. Mr.... (full context)
Chapter 9: Bag Full of Nothing
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
...of dirt or a bag of nothing. Shay goes first and talks about her horse. Jessica shows the class a picture of Shay, and Oliver brings a light bulb. As he... (full context)
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, and drinks it. Shay whispers meanly with Jessica, and Ally explains that Shay has gotten sneakier about being mean since Mr. Daniels took... (full context)
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...classmates. They contain two Japanese foods that she says might be spicy. Max, Keisha, and Jessica run to the sink for water after eating the wasabi pea, while Albert says with... (full context)
Chapter 11: Scrambled Egg
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
At lunch, Shay and Jessica invite Ally to sit with them. Ally doesn't want to, but she's tired of sitting... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Jessica points to Albert and everyone starts laughing. Ally doesn't understand why; Albert is dressed in... (full context)
Chapter 12: What's Your Problem, Albert?
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
That night, Mom opens Ally's bedroom door to check on her. Ally explains how Jessica and Shay roped her into making fun of Albert and says she feels awful. Mom... (full context)
Chapter 13: Trouble with Flowers
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...on the happy fact that all the girls get to carry flowers and ignores that Jessica's father donated them. (full context)
Chapter 14: Boxed In and Boxed Out
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...is without opening the box. Everyone looks excited. Ally is put in a group with Jessica, Max, Oliver, and Suki. Ally considers asking to go to the nurse when she sees... (full context)
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...and says the object is heavy. Oliver shouts that it might be a kangaroo and  Jessicagives him a disgusted look that makes him shrink. When Ally gets the box, she discovers... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
...an oversized marker, and Mr. Daniels stays to observe Ally's group with the fourth box. Jessica compliments Max as he turns the box around, and Oliver guesses the box contains a... (full context)
Chapter 15: Ungreased Gears
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...a serious look on his face and insists that he's talking like that. Shay and Jessica stalk off and Oliver remembers that he hid a cookie in his desk after the... (full context)
Chapter 20: Is This a Good Thing?
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...at school, Shay waits until Mr. Daniels walks into the hallway before whispering loudly to Jessica that yesterday, she saw Ally and Travis in a disgusting and run-down car. Ally tries... (full context)
Chapter 21: Butterfly Wishes
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...and Mr. Daniels compliments Shay and then quickly moves on. Later, Shay loudly whispers to Jessica that she's mad that Shay's mom is making her invite everyone, and she hopes some... (full context)
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...the Butterfly Gardens for Shay's party. She notices girls from other classrooms as well as Jessica, all of whom are wearing friendship bracelets. Ally wonders if Keisha would like one. An... (full context)
Chapter 24: Imaginary Hero
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...white. She spins the wheel and as the colors blur, they turn white. Everyone, even Jessica and Shay, say it's cool. Oliver asks if Ally is going to give the color... (full context)
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
As Ally sits down, she hears Jessica ask Shay for another friendship bracelet. Ally pretends not to listen as Shay says that... (full context)
Chapter 37: A Chicken, a Wolf, and a Problem
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...on their own. Ally asks to go into the hallway to escape the noise, though Jessica and Shay soon join her. They think the puzzle is dumb. Shay holds up signs... (full context)
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...stupid, and says that Mr. Daniels is only nice because he feels bad for her. Jessica squeakily suggests they go back inside, but Shay snaps at her. Ally notes the fear... (full context)
Chapter 38: Loser for President
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Mr. Daniels asks the students if they have nominations for class president. Jessica nominates Shay and no one else is willing to run, given that Shay has made... (full context)
Chapter 41: Not-So-Secret Letter
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
As Ally prepares to board her bus, Shay and Jessica stomp over and ask if Ally got the letter. Ally can't figure out why Shay... (full context)
Chapter 42: The Gifts of No Excuses, Scotch Tape, and Antibiotics
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...more like everyone else, but adds that she wouldn't want to act like Shay or Jessica. (full context)
Chapter 48: Oliver's Idea of Lucky
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Shay stomps off, but her followers only follow her halfheartedly. Jessica even jogs back and tells Ally that dyslexia is cool, that Ally is a good... (full context)
Chapter 51: C-O-U-R-A-GEnius
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...of the month and the class applauds. Shay says something that Ally can't hear, but Jessica tells Shay to stop. (full context)