Orbiting Jupiter Review

Saturday, 29 July 2017


By: Gary D. Schmidt
Rating: 3/5
Source: W H Smith Bundle

Jack meets his new foster bother, he already know three things about him. 
Joseph almost killed a teacher. 
He was incarcerated 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. 

So this is the first time I feel like I'm gearing up to write a tough review for a Zoella Book Club book. Orbiting Jupiter was a really sweet premise for a book but something just didn't sit right with me. For anyone who doesn't know the story at all, the main characters are Jack and Joseph who have been brought together as foster brothers following Joseph's release from a juvenile detention centre. 

I know what you're thinking, whoa Joseph tried to kill a teacher??? But that isn't really what this book is about. Joseph has a daughter. I didn't really think anything about this was strange at first, teen mums and dads are quite common these days and criminal record aside he could be a prefectly good parent. Except he's only fourteen. I'm not saying that it's unheard of, but once I realised how young Joseph was I couldn't connect with the story and how much this child wanted to be a father. 

I seem to be moderately alone on this as the other reviews seem to suggest that people loved this book. I was speaking with Zoe from nosaferplace about this book on Twitter and we both seemed to have the same feelings of discomfort about the story. I don't want to sound prejudiced because I really don't know what it's like to have a child at fourteen, but I know what it's like to be fourteen and I know that sex wasn't on my radar for a couple more years, never mind a child. 

Speaking of prejudice, I think something that this book highlighted very well was the realities that ex-convicts must face on a daily basis. Even if the courts decide to give someone a second chance, those in positions of power are always so forgiving. Particularly the principal at Jack and Joseph's school, he seemed to have a very negative approach to Jospeh's rehabilitation before it had even begun. 

I read a lot of YA novels and often read about characters who are 6/7/8+ years younger than me and I never have a problem relating to them, so I can only assume my disconnect with this book was due to the young parents. 

The book itself is beautifully written and there are some lovely moments and a real sense of friendship and having each other's back, parts of which did make me teary at times. I won't say that I didn't enjoy this book but I think for me to give it more than three stars the characters would have to have been older. Even the narrator being only twelve years old made me a little uncomfortable. 

I would recommend this book to YA fans because that's how it was advertised to me and I would be really interested to know what everyone else thought about this book. Did you love it? Did you feel the same level of discomfort that I did? Next in the Zoella Book Club is History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, so look out for that next Saturday!


2 comments

  1. Hearing super mixed things about this, definetely won't be buying! Amy x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hearing super mixed things about this, definetely won't be buying! Amy x

    ReplyDelete

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