Rummanah Aasi

Description: When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already 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.

Review: Orbiting Jupiter is a quiet tale that packs an emotional punch to the gut. The writing is simple with short sentences and short chapters, however, the characters' silence and appearance give this story its impact and power. I had my heart gripped in a vise when I read this book and it didn't ease up until the bittersweet ending. There were moments when I had tears in my eyes and I had to set it aside but the story would not let me go.
 Sixth grader Jack has a new foster brother, Joseph, who has a troubled past. Joseph has a history of trouble: he attacked a teacher, was incarcerated at an infamous juvenile detention center, and has a
s a baby daughter named Jupiter whom he’s never seen. It is through Jack's eyes that we observe Joseph who is removed, quiet, and not easy to warm up to. He hates people touching him or walking behind him. It is clear that he has had a traumatic childhood. At school, Joseph is bullied by both students and teachers alike, who presumed that he is nothing but trouble. Joseph, however, is incredibly intelligent and a nice person once he thaws. Soon Joseph begins to warm and open up to Jack's family as he grows to love the daily routine of farm life and learns what it means to be loved in a family. Jack's family may be complete, but Joseph’s single-minded desire to parent his daughter leads to strife and tragedy.
  In less than 200 pages, Schmidt unfolds his complex and heartbreaking story naturally. We don't learn Joseph's story until he is ready to tell it. We watch as Joseph's heart soars when he finally finds security and then plunge into darkness when it's snatched away from him. We too wonder where the angels are when horrible things happen to good people. While the writing is restrained, there are so many things to unpack from this book. I loved the foils and mirrors of male relationships from friendship and familial. This book really gets to the heart of what makes a family and in particular what makes a good father.

Rating: 5 stars

Words of Caution: There are allusions to physical abuse and sexual assault. There is also mention of teen pregnancy. Recommended for strong Grade 6 readers and up.

If you like this book try: A List of Cages by Robin Roe, The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
1 Response
  1. I thought this was a wonderful book and am so glad you liked it too.

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