Saturday, November 14, 2015

OBITING JUPITER by Gary D. Schmidt

Orbiting Jupiter
When Jack's parents decide to take in Joseph as a foster child, Jack is nervous.  Supposedly, Joseph almost killed a teacher, and at age thirteen, he is a father.  Yep, an eighth grade father!

Joseph isn't too keen on learning how to milk cows and do chores on the farm, but it is what it is.  He buckles down and does what is necessary.  He also heads off to start school with Jack.  Their first school day together starts off with Mr. Haskell, the bus driver, making a rude comment to Joseph.  Even though he still isn't comfortable with this whole foster brother thing, Jack feels he needs to defend Joseph.  The incident is the first of many in which Jack declares that he "has Joseph's back."

As Joseph begins to feel more comfortable with his new family, he opens up and shares the story of Maddie, his girl friend, and the baby they named Jupiter.  Although he knows he will never be allowed to see Maddie again, he longs to see his daughter.  His requests are denied and his frustration grows. 

Jack watches Joseph become more comfortable around the farm, and he begins to think of Joseph as a brother.  Sensing Joseph's increasing desire to find Jupiter, Jack isn't surprised when his foster brother turns up missing.  What does surprise him is that his parents step up to help. 

Author Gary D. Schmidt weaves a tender, yet complicated tale about love and loss that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.  Joseph struggle to deal with the pain of being torn from the only person he believed ever loved him and separated from the child he created as a result of that love.  His struggle is inspiring and also heart-breaking.

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