Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

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.

My Thoughts

The book is told from a POV of 12 yr old Jack. He lives on a farm with his parents who are foster parents. Joseph comes to live with them after leaving prison. He is quiet and has many problems, most notably not liking to be touched due to what happened in prison. He doesn’t talk or smile often at first but eventually he warms up to Jack and his parents.Joseph’s priority is to find where his daughter, Jupiter, is living. He asks for help and he does eventually find her but he’s not allowed to see her, hold her, or have any contact at all- he’s only 16 after all. A baby himself. It is a sad story but, it only gets even more sad.

All is going smoothly, or as smoothly as middle school can go, when Joesph’s abusive, alcoholic father shows up. He wants to take Joseph away but he’s not even supposed to have contact with him. Jack’s parents do their best to keep him away but he does come back. When he comes back all hell breaks lose and Joseph’s dad takes him at gun point. The sad ending, which broke my heart and made me cry, is that they both die.

A year later, Jack’s family adopts Joseph’s daughter, Jupiter. Which makes you happy cry but still breaks your heart all the same.

4 out of 5 stars! I deduct it because it’s just so sad and heartbreaking that I just had to stop reading at times to calm down.


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