Orbiting Jupiter (Paperback)
With the cruelties of a Maine winter and never ending, but purposeful farm chores, this soaring novel tells the somber story of friendship, overcoming odds and love. Knowing 13 year old Joseph has done some bad things in the past, has a sketchy father, and has fathered a child, does not stop Jack and his kind-hearted parents to take him in as a foster child. With calm, determinedness Jack's parents, as well as his teachers, refuse to turn their backs on multi-talented, but troubled Joseph. This novel's emotional weight rests in the friendship of narrator Jack and Joseph, as Jack stoically tells the tale from his perspective. Schmidt's writing is concise, with a carefully chosen palette of prose. Heartfelt but filled with the sad human truths we sometimes don't want to know, a story like this doesn't come around very often. A magnificent read and one the reader will not easily forget.
(Young Adult Fiction, ages 15+) Find more Staff Picks By Maureen— Maureen
In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.
Two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter.
After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost.
When Jack meets his new foster brother, he knows three things about him:
- Joseph almost killed a teacher.
- He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain.
- He has a daughter. Her name is Jupiter. And he has never seen her.
What Jack doesn't know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl. Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help.
But the past can't be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.
This tender, heartbreaking novel is Gary D. Schmidt at his best. He is the author of the Printz Honor and Newbery Honor Book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; Okay for Now, a National Book Award finalist; and The Wednesday Wars, a Newbery Honor Book, among his many acclaimed novels for young readers.
Gary D. Schmidt is the best-selling author of many books for young readers, including Just Like That; National Book Award finalist Okay for Now; Pay Attention, Carter Jones; Orbiting Jupiter; the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor Book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; and the Newbery Honor Book The Wednesday Wars. He is a professor of English at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
"The ending is bittersweet but as satisfying as a two-box-of-tissues tearjerker can possibly be (in the realm of juvenile fiction, Schmidt is the master of the emotional gut-punch)." — Horn Book Magazine
"Told in Jack's spare, direct first-person voice, this story's style demonstrates the beautify of simplicity as it delineates the lives of its characters, each as superbly realized as the tumultuous New England setting." — Booklist (starred review)
"The matter-of-fact narrative voice ensures that the tragic plot never overhwlms this wrenching tale of growth and loss." — School Library Journal (starred review)
"A powerful story about second chances, all the more devastating because not everyone gets one." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
#9 Autumn 2015 — Kids’ Indie Next list