Title: Orbiting Jupiter
Author: Gary D. Schmidt
Publication: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
Genre: Teen & YA Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
Jack, 12, tells the gripping story of Joseph, 14, who joins his family as a foster child. Damaged in prison, Joseph wants nothing more than to find his baby daughter, Jupiter, whom he has never seen. When Joseph has begun to believe he’ll have a future, he is confronted by demons from his past that force a tragic sacrifice.
Though he has written quite a few, I have never read one of Gary Schmidt’s books before. But after reading his latest venture, Orbiting Jupiter, I think I will make a point to pick up his other works of fiction in the future.
Orbiting Jupiter was a very satisfying read. Unlike some YA fiction out there today, Orbiting Jupiter was a clean read. It was a book I would feel comfortable giving to any teenager, knowing they were going to be getting something worthwhile in their hands.
Jack, or sometimes adoringly referred to as Jackie, is the narrator of the story. He is a 12 year old middle school student who lives on a dairy farm. Jack is an only child, but he is not always the only boy living in his house due to the fact that his parents are foster parents. The family decides to take on a new boy named Joseph, who has had his share of his trouble in his young life. Joseph is a few years older than Jack, and the two boys quickly forge a brotherly bond. Joseph is very protective of Jack and vice versa. You can really sense the love between these two characters.
The crux of the story centers on Joseph and his daughter, Jupiter. Jupiter doesn’t have a main role in the story, but her presence is felt throughout it. Joseph desires to have contact with his daughter, but due to circumstances out of his control, that is extremely difficult for more than one reason. Jack’s parents love Joseph as their own son and try very hard to help him see Jupiter and make him happy. They want to give him the desires of his heart, but they find they aren’t doing enough when Joseph takes matters into his own hands. This is an engaging story of love, compassion, courage, and change, and I simply do not want to say anything more because I don’t want to give anything away!
On a different note, I only had one minor issue with this book. The reason I gave it 4 out of 5 stars is there simply wasn’t enough of it. I felt the author rushed a bit at times, and it could have been more detailed. The last 10-15 pages of the book really threw me for a loop, and I wanted more of the story, but it was quickly over. If he wanted to, Schmidt could easily write a sequel to this book.
Orbiting Jupiter is worth a read. Check it out today; you won’t be disappointed!