Monday, 11 January 2016

Orbiting Jupiter, Gary D Schmidt

Pages: 192
Publisher: Andersen Press
Release Date: 31st December 2015
Edition: UK e-proof, NetGalley review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Straw into Gold, Mara’s Stories, First Boy, The Wednesday Wars, Trouble, Okay For Now, What Came From the Stars

A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. Btu Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.

What's more, Joseph has a daughter he's never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

When Joseph joins Jack and his parents, he's suffered more trauma in his 14 years than some do their whole lives, and no one will let him forget it. There are bullying teachers and bullying classmates ready to tear him down from facts about his past that have floated around the town, but none of them have actually tried to get to know him. The way Joseph was treated made me furious, especially after he told his story to Jack and his parents – so heartbreaking. But Jack had his back.

I loved how instantaneous Jack’s protectiveness of Joseph was. Two years younger and smaller and Jack still bodily launched himself to Joseph he looked like he needed it. There’s a quiet respect and camaraderie between both the boys and Jack’s parents that made my heart smile. The simplicity of the hard work on the farm and the connection with the animals, particularly Rosie the cow, was lovely to read and it made me long for that king of escape myself. It all came down to Joseph’s desperation to love and be loved in return and how he projected that onto the baby daughter he’d never even met. Oh, my heart.

Orbiting Jupiter is a beautiful and sad story about friendship, love and family, and at under two hundred pages, it packs a powerful emotional punch.

Thanks to NetGalley and Andersen Press for the review copy.


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