Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Gary D. Schmidt: Orbiting Jupiter | Book Review

I saw this novel in the library after being drawn to the cover however, I was slightly disappointed when I noticed how short this book was and was in two minds about picking it up. I did end up getting it, with the intentions of using it as a 'on the go' novel that I could read when I have short breaks from life. However, I quickly made my way through this entire novel on my work shift split.

It's safe to say that Gary D. Schhmidt writes beautifully, this novel was absolutely cramped with the delicate details that many authors forget to include within their novels. I absolutely adore this story-line, I just wish there was more to it and I am frustrated that this story ended before it had even begun, if you have read the novel, you will understand what I mean by that.

This story starts when Jack meets his new foster brother called Joseph. Joseph is two years older than Jack and Jack only knows three things about Joseph. Firstly that he almost killed a teacher, secondly, he was confined and incarcerated in a place called Stone Mountain and thirdly, he has a daughter called Jupiter who he has never seen. What both Jack and us aren't aware of at first, is that all Joseph wants is to see his daughter. 

There was so many aspects of this novel that I fell in love with, the style of writing that is so easy to follow, the characters who make their home with two foster children into the most loving and loyal, supportive family and the willpower within Joseph's mind to find his daughter. He may only be a minor himself and he may not be able to give Jupiter all that she needs, but he can give her love and sometimes love is enough, but other times it ends in heartbreak. 

On the other hand, it did take the first half of the novel to get into the story and start to learn more about who Joseph is, and what he did in his past, how he became a parent and why he doesn't live with his birth family. Before this, we were learning about how Joseph is settling into Jack's home and their middle school and we quickly find out that he is the complete opposite to his innocent foster brother. Jack had always been well behaved before Joseph turned up and many of the teachers are thrown off Joseph before they even met him, most likely because he tried to kill one, but that was back then and surely if Joseph was that bad he wouldn't be allowed in mainstream school? Jack is adamant that people need to give Joseph a chance and we learn his frustrations with people not doing so. We can't help but warm to Joseph as time goes on, as we learn about his story of falling in love at aged thirteen, of heartache, heartbreak and grief and of being a father to a child that you're not allowed to meet. 

I do feel that this novel is the classic love story but with a twist and adapted into including the issue of teenage pregnancy. Gary D. Schmidt explores the dangers and complications of carrying and delivering a baby and the grief of feeling as though you have lost not just the girl you love but everything that you were. In the end, we are hit with even more heartbreak and sadness, this novel definitely carries the emotion. But people start to realise who Joseph really is, even if it takes a death to do so. Joseph and Jupiter might not reunite just yet but they will share an incredible foster family who will take good care of Jupiter in the meantime.

Overall, I did love this novel however, I feel like it was too similar to the typical love story that ends in a tragedy and I felt like I couldn't really get into the story due to it being so short. Having said that, I did like the small and unique aspects and themes that were added in and would recommend if you're after a quick and emotive read, packed with detail. I rated this novel three stars on Goodreads. What did you think?

This novel was published on 6th October 2015 and is 183 pages long. 


Thank-you for reading, Tay x

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