Title: Orbiting Jupiter
Author: Gary D. Schmidt
Publisher: Andersen Press
Publication date: 31 December 2015
Genre: YA/Middle Grade
This Carnegie-nominated novel will no doubt find a lot of new readers over the coming months, having just been picked for the 2017 Zoella and Friends Book Club. The story begins with Jack meeting his new foster brother, Joseph. Whilst Jack and his parents give Joseph a warm welcome, his classmates are not quite so friendly. That’s because they have heard the rumours:
- Joseph tried to kill his teacher.
- Joseph was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain.
- Joseph has a daughter.
Suitable for the younger end of YA and potentially some middle grade readers, Orbiting Jupiter is a moving story of a boy whose search for his baby girl means he can’t truly settle into his new home. Its intense emotional moments really take you by surprise, in the way that children and teens often do; you’ll be having a normal conversation and then BAM! suddenly they’ve said something absolutely heart-wrenching.
It’s a quick read, but one that will undoubtedly stay with me for a long time. I loved the characters of both Jack and Joseph and their definition of family: “I’ve got your back.” I couldn’t help but think that the ending may have been unnecessarily tragic, but then life sometimes is exactly that.
With a glimmer of hope in the final chapter, Orbiting Jupiter feels like a classic teen read in the making. I highly recommend it.