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Orbiting Jupiter Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Schmidt, Gary D.
ISBN: 0544938399     ISBN-13: 9780544938397
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    OUR PRICE: $8.99  
Product Type: Paperback
Published: May 2017
The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.

Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Friendship; Fiction.
Emotional problems; Fiction.
Child abuse; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2017016700
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.00" H x 5.00" W x 0.50" (0.36 lbs) 183 pages
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q67214
Reading Level: 6.5   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 9.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring)
Jack's new foster brother, Joseph, has a troubled past. The fourteen-year-old attacked a teacher, was subsequently incarcerated, and has a baby daughter whom he's never seen. Jack (a sixth grader) and his parents gradually peel away Joseph's cold veneer, but Joseph's single-minded desire to parent his daughter leads to strife. The heartbreak unfolds organically and--in an impressive show of authorial restraint--succinctly.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2015 #6)
Jack's new foster brother, Joseph, has a troubled past. The fourteen-year-old attacked a teacher, was subsequently incarcerated at a juvenile detention center, and has a baby daughter named Jupiter whom he's never seen. At school, Joseph has a rough time, with students and educators alike picking on him, but he grows to love the daily routine of farm life. As Jack (a sixth grader) and his parents gradually peel away Joseph's cold veneer, it seems as if their family may be complete. But it soon becomes clear that things will never be simple, as Joseph's single-minded desire to parent his daughter leads to strife. Then Joseph's father comes violently back into the picture, with tragic results. The ending is bittersweet but as satisfying as a two-box-of-tissues tearjerker can possibly be (in the realm of juvenile fiction, Schmidt is the master of the emotional gut-punch). The heartbreak unfolds organically and—in an impressive show of authorial restraint—succinctly. Jack's narrative voice reads like a pithier Doug Swieteck (from Schmidt's Okay for Now, rev. 5/11), and there is definitely more than a passing resemblance between the two characters (and Jack's gym teacher is the aforementioned Doug's older brother). Schmidt is at his most dynamic in his sensory descriptions (ice-skating on a pond at night: "the feel of the skates roughing and sliding over the ice, the way your knees know what to do…the heat on your toes, the cold on your eyes and the cold in your mouth"). And so what if Jack and Joseph aren't the most realistic of teenagers? The boys' big hearts and the sadness of Joseph's story will grab readers nonetheless. sam bloo Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2015 August #3)

Joseph Brook, 14, has been dealt a hand so bad that he deserves to win the foster family lottery, which he does, delivered into the care of the Hurds—loving, patient, thoughtful farmers. He arrives nearly mute, his social worker warning that, because of what he's been through in detention, he doesn't like the color orange, to be touched, or to be approached from behind. But Joseph thaws quickly, bonding with narrator, Jack, the last foster child the Hurds took in. Within weeks, Joseph shares his tragic history: he fell in love with a well-to-do girl, and she became pregnant at 13. The baby, Jupiter, is now in foster care, too, and Joseph desperately wants to find her. The plot can be heavy-handed, but Schmidt's writing is so smooth and graceful that is easy to empathize with Joseph, who is victimized repeatedly—by his father, by adults who write him off before they meet him, by bullies who see an easy target. It's a powerful story about second chances, all the more devastating because not everyone gets one. Ages 10–14. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2015 August)

Gr 6 Up—This contemporary story feels taut and austere, eschewing the humorous episodes that buoy Schmidt's earlier books. Jackson Hurd, a taciturn sixth grader, narrates the arrival to his family's farm of Joseph, a jumpy foster kid two years his senior. The author makes milking cows a substantial presence throughout the novel, and the steady rhythm of farm life coupled with the Hurd family's stolid acceptance calm Joseph enough to unveil his story. The straightforward narration—Schmidt's colloquial style is tinged here with a somber tone—proves integral to balancing the potential melodrama in the catalog of miseries Joseph has endured by age 13. He has suffered familial and institutional abuse, fathered a daughter he's never been allowed to see, and lost the baby's beloved mother. The novel initially takes the shape of a redemption story, as Joseph begins to imagine a future for himself through the Hurds' support and the persistent attention of a few dedicated teachers (readers of the author's previous books will appreciate the character connections here). While Joseph inches past his traumatic history into a new middle school existence, Jack's commitment to the older boy prompts his own evolution. Schmidt displays his talent for character development as Jack grows more deliberate and active in defense of Joseph, with a burgeoning comprehension of his own ethics of behavior. But further tragedy follows this hopeful period for both boys, though just the right details are included to keep this heartrending story palatable. VERDICT The matter-of-fact narrative voice ensures that the tragic plot never overwhelms this wrenching tale of growth and loss.—Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY

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