Orbiting Jupiter Book Review

Orbiting Jupiter Book Cover Orbiting Jupiter
Gary D. Schmidt
Young Adult, Middle-Grade, Fiction, Contemporary
Andersen Press
Summer 2017 (originally published October 6th 2015)

Jack, 12, tells the gripping story of Joseph, 14, who joins his family as a foster child. Damaged in prison, Joseph wants nothing more than to find his baby daughter, Jupiter, whom he has never seen. When Joseph has begun to believe he’ll have a future, he is confronted by demons from his past that force a tragic sacrifice.

Since I wanted a quick read, I decided to give Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt a try. I picked this book up while it was a part of Zoella’s Book Club in 2017. But upon starting it, I wasn’t aware of one thing – it is a middle-grade book.

“You know how teachers are. If they get you to take out a book they love too, they’re yours for life.”

Now I have absolutely no problems whatsoever with middle-grade books. In fact, some of my favorite books are middle grade. But there are some middle-grade books out there that make me not enjoy them as much. That’s how I somewhat felt with Orbiting Jupiter.

Now let me start by saying that this is NOT a bad book. Quite opposite in fact. I really enjoyed reading Orbiting Jupiter. But there are moments throughout the story that I just think the language was very basic, a bit repetitive and slow. It also felt quite predictable with some aspects of the story. There are also moments in the book where things just suddenly happen and I’m sat there thinking “… what”.

The way that I felt while reading this book was the exact same feeling I had while reading A Wrinkle in Time. Although I know LOTS of people love A Wrinkle in Time, it left me feeling a bit … eh. (I mention it in this blog) (DON’T HATE ME!)

“Sometimes it’s like that. You know something good is coming, and even though it’s not even close yet, still, just knowing it’s coming is enough to make you snort and nicker. Sort of.”

The overall theme of the Orbiting Jupiter is about foster care and friendship. How these friendships can help you overcome problems that you have had to deal with. Joseph, a 14-year-old is brought into a new family after suffering abuse from his father and getting another girl pregnant. He, however, is not hidden from the injustice of law and his father attempts to take him away on several occasions. I don’t know what it was about this, but it made my skin crawl. Maybe that’s the whole point, but it was the kind of feeling I don’t like getting from a book.

She liked getting her rump rubbed. Sort of. The theme of milking cows in Orbiting Jupiter was strong.

Jack, the 11-year-old who the story of Orbiting Jupiter is told from amused me on several occasions, however. How he kept track of how many times Joseph smiled with all the “sort of” moments. He also loved taking note of how Rosie, the cow, enjoyed getting her rump rubbed by Joseph and mooing because she loved him. These were the moments that I thought were very sweet. But for me, I think sometimes these moments were too simplified. Again, I am 100% away this is a middle-grade book and taking that into consideration, this sort of language is absolutely FINE. I just don’t think it was for me.

“You can tell all you need to know about someone from the way cows are around him.”

Overall, I would recommend Orbiting Jupiter for people who enjoy middle-grade books about love, loss, and family.

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