Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Friday, October 16, 2015

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt...

How I Heard About It:  This title kept popping up on Twitter before it was released.  I added it to my TBR list and was excited to see on the shelf at the local book store last weekend.  

What It Is About:  Joseph is a thirteen year old who also happens to be a father.  After being in a juvenile detention center, he is put in a foster home with Jack's family.  Jack is twelve years old and an only child.  The family lives on a farm in Maine and is always looking for ways to help other people.  As Joseph tries to get use to this new situation, Jack's family welcomes him with open arms.  They teach him the ways of the farm.  Jack and Joseph begin to spend time together trying to figure each other out.  Life at school isn't easy for Joseph with some teachers already against him because of his past and some wanting to take him under their wing and reach his full potential.  The longer Joseph spends time on the farm, the more he wants to see his daughter named Jupiter.  He makes it his mission to find where she is so he can go see her.  After his departure, Jack and his parents follow his trail to make sure Joseph is making the right choices and that Jupiter isn't in danger.    

What I Thought Of It:  This is a little novel with a great big punch.  The writing is absolutely beautiful and the story is one that is uniquely different.  The character of Joseph is one that is heart-warming, tough-skinned, and complicated.  I also enjoyed the relationship between Joseph and Jack.  As hard-headed as Joseph tries to be, I could tell he liked being an "older brother" to Jack.  Both of them brought so much to this new friendship/brotherhood.  The characters that support Joseph and the ones that don't, brought such depth to the story.  The events that lead up to the stunning conclusion left me speechless and heavy-hearted.

Who Should Read It:  This is a hard one to put in a category for readers.  The reading level and length   isn't difficult, but the subject matter is a bit more mature.  The fact that Joseph is a thirteen-year father, could lead to some pretty heavy discussions.  Because of that, I would classify this a young adult novel.    I think if the reader were in grades eight or above, it would be just fine.  Because of the beautiful story, many adult readers will find much book love for this newest novel.

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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