Zoella & Friends 2017 Book Club: Jennifer Niven Reviews Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Zoella & Friends 2017 Book Club: Jennifer Niven Reviews Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.

Jennifer Niven   Jennifer Niven was over the moon to have her novel All the Bright Places featured in the first Zoella Book Club. When she’s not writing books— her latest YA, Holding Up the Universe, is out now— she’s working on the movie script for All the Bright Places, fangirling, dancing, wandering the world, interacting with readers, and reading her heart out. Which is one of the five hundred reasons she loves being involved in the Zoella & Friends Book Club. She reads and writes to remind herself and others that she’s not alone, and she thinks books are magic. If she were stranded on a desert island, she would bring Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Stories of Ray Bradbury, In Cold Blood, one of her many Neil Gaiman books, the complete works of Shirley Jackson, and Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere. If there was any room left over after that, she’d also bring Chris Hemsworth.

Orbiting Jupiter  Orbiting Jupiter is a heartbreaking story narrated by twelve year old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen year old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to. What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

Gary D. Schmidt  Gary D. Schmidt is an American children’s writer of nonfiction books and young adult novels, including two Newbery Honor books and one Printz Honor award. He lives on a farm in Michigan and has six children. He is a Professor of English at Calvin College and teaches reading and writing to inmates at a maximum security detention centre on a weekly basis.


Orbiting Jupiter Sensitive Themes  //  Sex  /  Peril and Violence  /  Reference to Abuse and Emotional Damage  /   Teenage Pregnancy  /  Family Issues  /  Criminal Behaviour

Read an Extract from Orbiting Jupiter:

One

BEFORE YOU AGREE to have Joseph come live with you,’ Mrs Stroud said, ‘there are one or two things you ought to understand.’ She took out a State of Maine * Department of Health and Human Services folder and laid it on the kitchen table.

‘Jack should know what we’re getting into, same as us,’ he said.

My mother looked at me for a long time. Then she looked at my father.

He put his hand on my back. ‘Jack should know what we’re getting into, same as us,’ he said. He looked down at me. ‘Maybe you more than anyone.’

My mother nodded, and Mrs Stroud opened the folder.

This is what she told us.

Two months ago, when Joseph was at Adams Lake Juvenile, a kid gave him something bad in the boys’ bathroom.

He went into a stall and swallowed it.

After a long time, his teacher came looking for him.

When she found him, he screamed.

She said he’d better come out of that stall right now.

He screamed again.

She said he’d better come out of that stall right now unless he wanted more trouble.

So he did.

Then he tried to kill her.

They sent Joseph to Stone Mountain, even though he did what he did because the kid gave him something bad and he swallowed it. But that didn’t matter. They sent him to Stone Mountain anyway.

I felt my father’s hand against my back.

He won’t talk about what happened to him there. But since he left Stone Mountain, he won’t wear anything orange.

He won’t let anyone stand behind him.

He won’t let anyone touch him.

He won’t go into rooms that are too small.

And he won’t eat canned peaches.

‘He’s not very big on meatloaf either,’ said Mrs Stroud, and she closed the State of Maine * Department of Health and Human Services folder.

‘He’ll eat my mother’s canned peaches,’ I said.

Mrs Stroud smiled. ‘We’ll see,’ she said. Then she put her hand on mine. ‘Jack, your parents know this, and you should too. There’s something else about Joseph.’

‘What?’ I said.

‘He has a daughter.’

I felt my father’s hand against my back.

‘She’s almost three months old, but he’s never seen her. That’s one of the biggest heartbreaks in this case.’ Mrs Stroud handed the folder to my mother. ‘Mrs Hurd, I’ll leave this with you. Read it, and then you can decide. Call me in a few days if . . .’

‘We’ve talked this over,’ said my mother. ‘We already know.’

‘Are you sure?’

My mother nodded.

‘We’re sure,’ my father said.

Mrs Stroud looked at me. ‘How about you, Jack?’

My father’s hand still against my back.

‘How soon can he come?’ I said.


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