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Chasing Jupiter

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Scarlett Blaine's life in 1960s Georgia isn't always easy, especially given her parents' financial struggles and the fights surrounding her sister Juli's hippie lifestyle. Then there's her brother, Cliff. While Scarlett loves him more than anything, there's no denying his unique behavior leaves Cliff misunderstood and left out. So when he wishes for a rocket to Jupiter, Scarlett agrees to make it happen, no matter how crazy the idea might be. Raising the rocket money means baking pies, and the farmer's son, Frank, agrees to provide the peaches if Scarlett will help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett really enjoys her time with Frank, and finds herself wondering if, someday, they could be more than friends. Just as she thinks everything might be going her way, Cliff suffers an accident that not only affects the rocket plans, but shakes Scarlett's view of God. As the summer comes to an end, Scarlett must find a way to regain what she's lost, but also fulfill a promise to launch her brother's dream.

224 pages, Hardcover

First published December 25, 2012

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About the author

Rachel Coker

2 books145 followers
Rachel Coker resides in Virginia with her parents and two sisters. She has a passion for great books, and has been surrounded by them all her life. Her gift for writing became apparent at the age of eleven, at which time her parents signed her up for a year of lessons with a professional writing coach. Rachel also has a deep love for classical music and old black-and-white movies. When she is not writing or playing the piano, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends and serving her Lord and Savior.

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5 stars
221 (38%)
4 stars
198 (34%)
3 stars
109 (18%)
2 stars
44 (7%)
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6 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 149 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah Grace Grzy.
629 reviews826 followers
September 6, 2017
I am waffling back and forth between "THIS IS THE WORST BOOK EVER", and throwing the book across the room, AND "THIS WAS SO BEAUTIFUL" and hugging the book.

Oh well.

Soooo . . . This book was really good, but fell just short of the hype I had been hearing on it.

The characters were so good. I feel like Scarlet, the MC, fell a bit shy in the emotional climax and resolution area. She was really really good, don't get me wrong, but I was expecting this uber-emotional, super wonderful climax in her inner struggle, and that . . . just didn't happen. Otherwise, she was great! Cliff was without a doubt the best part of this book. My goodness! He was just so sweet and adorable, and . . . and . . . I can't even! Just loved him! Fantastic character! Frank was also a good character, but his crush on Juli drove me crazy . . . Crushed in general tend to drive me nuts. The ending was so sweet though! *melts* Juli was rather an "ehh - don't get it" kind of character. I don't feel like her storyline was wrapped up very well, also.

The storyline was incredible, and I love Coker's poignant writing style! Just beautiful! And I give the author big kudos for publishing a book through a publishing house at such a young age. And a homeschooler, too! Woot woot! We homeschoolers gotta stick together. ;)

I also feel like the Christian aspect could have been incorporated and been a bigger part of the story. It was there, but it wasn't there, if you know what I mean. I was really hoping that would shine through and resolve the characters' emotional struggles, but it didn't really do that.

All in all, this was a very good book. I would recommend if for ages 14ish+ for the crush\romance side of things, and I think that's the youngest age that would understand and appreciate the story.

CONTENT NOTE: A little boy is severely injured, although nothing is graphically described. Deals with crushes, grief, and slight romance, all pretty minimal.
Profile Image for Elaina.
319 reviews172 followers
July 20, 2017
🌟5 stars🌟
Ughh, my heart...this book you guys, this book <3 I loved it so much more than I was expecting to...it became an instant new favorite! I liked the characters, especially Scarlett because I felt like I could relate to her, at least in some ways...feeling like she was different than others, and not knowing exactly what God's plan for her life was at that moment...I don't know, I just felt like I could connect with the story and characters a lot. I didn't think I would end up crying in this book for some reason either, but when I got to the last page, I couldn't help myself lol I'm a little unpredictable when it comes to crying while reading books :P Sometimes it takes a whole lot to make me cry, and other times I will cry at that slightest thing...I don't know if that makes sense or not xD But anyways, if you are still not sure about this book, I would definitely recommend it!! It was pretty short too so I read it in about 2-3 sittings...I would have read it even faster if I didn't have to do things like eat, sleep, chores, etc. XD 
Profile Image for R.F. Gammon.
470 reviews178 followers
June 21, 2019
I don't like his-fic.

I don't like stories focusing on "the dysfunctional family".

I don't like girls pining for boys.

I don't like hippies.

I don't like stories in the 1960s.

I don't like ignorance about mental health issues.

And yet this story was beautiful and heartbreaking and I loved it. I literally CRIED at the end, people. I never, ever, ever, EVER cry when I'm reading, but this book made me cry.

It was so painful. Because ignorance hurts. And families that don't work hurt. And everything hurts.


It was so good.

I loved it.

4 stars.
Profile Image for mary liz.
213 reviews18 followers
May 15, 2021
Reread April 2021:

Excuse me while I go cry into my peach pie. :'))

An unmatched sticky summer aesthetic. This one makes me tear up every time.

(& the extent to which I related to Scarlett this time around was insane. this story is so personal, for so many reasons. I'll never stop loving it.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Reread November 2018:

No matter how many times I read this, it feels like I'm reading it for the very first time.

This book never fails to touch a part of my heart that few books can. The poignancy, raw emotion, vivid characters, and the dreamy summer setting are ingrained in me forever.

"Your voice is sweeter than peach pie and stronger than steel nails and softer than summer clouds."

5 stars

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Oh my stars...I'm speechless right now.

This book was raw, heartbreaking, and beautiful. I loved everything about it, even though it crushed my feels with a hammer. (Which seems like a common thing for January's reads. ;P)

Basically, everyone needs to read this book. I don't often leave a book wanting to reread it again right away, but Chasing Jupiter made me want to do just that. It's just so...perfect.

(And can we talk about Scarlett and Frank? THEY'RE SO ADORABLE.)

Wish I could give it 1,000 stars. <333

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

// June 2017 Reread //

Still as rich in meaning and full of heart as I remembered. This will forever remain one of my favorite books and a poignant reminder of what really matters in life. <3
Profile Image for Angela R. Watts.
Author 28 books195 followers
May 27, 2019
This book was incredible, poignant, and as sweet as a peach. The narrative was intriguing and classy, the time period and setting was AMAZING, and the story flowed wonderfully.
The characters were very lifelike and realistic. I could relate quite a bit with the main character, Scarlet, and her sister's chaos. The pain was portrayed in a real way but the hope shined through. There were a few things I would've liked to have been wrapped up but it didn't take away from the story.
Overall, this book was amazing and I'd recommend it to anyone. I was almost crying driving to karate class and finished this book in the dressing room because oh, gosh, it was good.
Profile Image for Lisa.
210 reviews228 followers
December 15, 2017
As I promised, here is a review of one of my new favorite novels - Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker! I bought a used copy from Thriftbooks for only $4.00 plus $3.00 shipping - and haha - it was signed by the author! What luck!

I devoured the thing in one day. Yup. Same day it arrived. I can't remember loving a book that much in a long time. It's a 215 pager historical fiction and just go read the synopsis now to get started.

As I promised, here is a review of one of my new favorite novels - Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker! I bought a used copy from Thriftbooks for only $4.00 plus $3.00 shipping - and haha - it was signed by the author! What luck!

I devoured the thing in one day. Yup. Same day it arrived. I can't remember loving a book that much in a long time. It's 215 pager historical fiction and let me just give you the synopsis to get you started.

Well, well. This was one of those beauties I really don't want to take apart by analyzing it in a review and pick it by the seams to evaluate the people or the storyline or the setting. I just want to leave it sitting on my desk intact in all its wonderfulness. But I feel like I need to do this for you just in case you haven't yet experienced this story for yourself; I kind of feel like I need to do this for the author and for the amazing story it was.

Five stars for this one. The title is everything. This is a story about family and dreams and heartbreak and loss. It's a story about peaches and pies and peanut butter and Peter Pan and promises and peace. It's a story about cooking and baking and Spanish and summer and friends and love. It's a story about music and the moon and space and hippies and rockets and the kitchen and animals and odd people who do wonderful things.
I smiled and I lauged through it and my heart cried a bit too (my eyes almost did - almost). And I think in the end it was fun and adorable and sad and just plain amazing.
Some things worth mentioning -
- The people were poor and the family struggled and fought at times and yet they were just a beautiful family. It just felt so real. I knew they loved each other, and yet they went through difficulties like people do in reality;
- This girl worked - and she did it well. I think it was an inspirational, encouraging sort of thing;
- This girl was a bit of a loner whose best friend was her ten-year-old brother - and if that isn't fabulous, what is? I relate so much.
- There was a lot of kitchen time;
- She met Frank when she was talking to herself, and I relate so much xD
- They were chasing an impossible dream, or a dream that seemed impossible, and don't they all feel like that sometimes?
- The characters were all so real and peculiar in a endearing way - those oddities and the humor really drew me to them xD
- The historical feel was almost tangible. It was just so there in a natural kind of way (I'm sorry if I don't make much sense);
- It had a beautiful theme or themes;
- And the symbolism was amazing.

I don't want to say too much. All I want to say it made me feel. This is a perfectly clean book by a young author and I recommend this to everyone without hesitation. I am sure you will love it.
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,555 reviews3,401 followers
December 7, 2015
About this book:

“Scarlett Blaine's life in 1960s Georgia isn't always easy, especially given her parents' financial struggles and the fights surrounding her sister Juli's hippie lifestyle. Then there's her brother, Cliff. While Scarlett loves him more than anything, there's no denying his unique behavior leaves Cliff misunderstood and left out. So when he wishes for a rocket to Jupiter, Scarlett agrees to make it happen, no matter how crazy the idea might be. Raising the rocket money means baking pies, and the farmer's son, Frank, agrees to provide the peaches if Scarlett will help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett really enjoys her time with Frank, and finds herself wondering if, someday, they could be more than friends. Just as she thinks everything might be going her way, Cliff suffers an accident that not only affects the rocket plans, but shakes Scarlett's view of God. As the summer comes to an end, Scarlett must find a way to regain what she's lost, but also fulfill a promise to launch her brother's dream.”

Series: As of now, no. :(

Spiritual Content- Many Scriptures are quoted; Scarlett prays but says she ”never gave much thought to God or heaven.” And that she “only 16, a long time before” she “really had to worry about getting ‘right with the good Lord’.”; Juli’s boyfriend, Ziggy, has brainwashed Juli into believing into the whole “Enlightenment” (have an open mind and good things will happen to you), when Julie shares that idea with Scarlett, Scarlett rolls her eyes; Mrs. Greene witnesses to Scarlett quite a few times; *Spoiler* Scarlett prays and becomes a Christian *End of Spoiler*.

Negative Content- Minor Cussing including: a ‘shush up’, two ‘gosh’s, two forms of ‘idiot’, two forms of ‘darn’, six ‘drat’s, 18 forms of ‘stupid’; a curse is said but not written; A chicken almost gets killed for supper (semi-detailed); cigarette smoking (not Scarlett); Scarlett slaps Juli & Juli slaps Scarlett back harder.

Sexual Content- a kiss between a married couple (barely above not-detailed); Crushes & Juli has a boyfriend

-Scarlett Blaine, age 16 (then 17)
First person P.O.V. of Scarlett
Set in 1969
216 pages

Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- Three Stars
Early High School Teens- Four Stars
Older High School Teens- Five Stars
My personal Rating- Four Stars (and a half)

Do I have to give this book back to the library?!
I cannot say how much I enjoyed this book! The humor (not always sarcastic humor, mostly good ol’ knock-knock jokes), the very tiny amount of romance (crushes), and the best part of all—the Witnessing! I was bawling at many times! What’s really neat about this book is it’s written by a fellow homeschooler! Rachel Coker wrote & published this book in 2012—at age 16!
Some of my favorite quotes are:

‘“Hey, knock, knock," Cliff said. His voice sounded loud in the quiet hallway.
"Who's there?"
I frowned. Cliff was pretty good at telling knock-knock jokes, but I hadn't heard this one yet. "Luke who?"
"Luke through the hole and you'll find out." He gave me his signature punch-line smile.”’

‘“Frank's brows rose. His eyes trailed over me to Cliff, who was grumpily walking in circles and then back to me. "Why are you talking to yourself?"
Funny story... My mind raced, but I couldn't think of a logical reason. I sighed. Let him think I'm crazy. "I'm more pleasant company than any other person I can think of. No one else is as eager to listen to me as I am."
He stared at me blankly for a moment. Then a smile broke out on his face, slowly at first but then blossoming into a full-out grin.’

Link to review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

Profile Image for Luisa Knight.
2,728 reviews688 followers
November 7, 2022
I wish I could say more about this book other than that it was just okay. But the characters and the plot never really grabbed my entire interest, and even when the main character had a salvation experience, it wasn't very satisfying; it felt more like she had just come to terms with her circumstances.


Mild Obscenities & Substitutions - 5 Incidents: drat, darned, darn, Jumpin' Jehoshaphat. Stupid is used throughout the book. It is stated that a man curses.

Religious Profanity - 9 Incidents: Lord preserve us, gee, gosh, Heaven knows, goodness gracious, heaven's sake, Lord

Violence - None

Romance Related - 11 Incidents: There is romance in this book. The main girl and guy fall in love. You see her falling in love, liking his eyes, his tall frame, etc. A rebellious sister dates a young man her parents do not approve of. A teen boy holds a teen girl's hand as she is blindfolded and walking. The hand holding lingers. A teen boy moves hair away from a teen girl's face. A husband and wife kiss. A teen boy and girl hug. Twice. A woman shares about how a man wanted her to run away and marry him when they were young. She didn't but they had a few good dances together. A boy and girl touch, his hand on her elbow and her hair brushes his face. A boy and girl loop arms while walking. A boy and girl hug and kiss (not very detailed) and then he mentions marriage. A boy and girl hold hands. He then cups her elbow in his hand, drawing her towards him.

Religious & Supernatural - 4 Incidents: "I didn't really care that much about church or about the music or the sermon. I never gave much thought to God or heaven. I mean, the way I saw it, I was only sixteen. I had a long time before I really had to worry about getting "right with the good Lord." A girl is upset and confused about God: "Then why search for [peace] at all? Why do people look for God if he can't help us at all?" A pastor's wife tries to address her question by saying that while God doesn't usually fix external circumstances, He fixes your heart and helps you handle the difficulty. A girl is upset with God for not keeping her brother from loosing his mental facilities and letting him suffer memory loss. The teen girl does have a type of salvation experience of giving control over to God.

Conversation Topics - 11 Incidents: A rebellious daughter dyes her hair blue, to her parents chagrin.
Parents are concerned that their daughter is involved in the use of foreign substances and alcohol.Her boyfriend always smells like beer. A boy steals peaches. A teen girl doesn't come home one night. Her sister lies, saying she's home. A grandpa gets mad at his granddaughter for dancing the "devil's dance" - "twirling and sashaying, waving my arms around above my head." A woman smokes a cigarette. Parents fight about tight finances and giving money to politicians. Two sisters fight about whether their dad is a bum or not - the main character does not think her dad is a bum.
A girl inspects her older sister (teen) thinking she doesn't look intoxicated (implying she has in the past). A character heads "straight for the closest bar." A teen girl runs away from home and is gone for months with her boyfriend.

**Like my reviews? Then you should follow me! Because I have hundreds more just like this one. With each review, I provide a Cleanliness Report, mentioning any objectionable content I come across so that parents and/or conscientious readers (like me) can determine beforehand whether they want to read a book or not. Content surprises are super annoying, especially when you’re 100+ pages in, so here’s my attempt to help you avoid that!

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Profile Image for Melani Crone.
9 reviews10 followers
September 25, 2017
I have to say, I enjoyed Chasing Jupiter... but I was really disappointed with the ending. I guess it was realistic, but I'm definitely an "and they lived happily ever after" type of girl. XD
Chasing Jupiter did capture my attention, for sure! I read it in two or three sittings. It was a sweet story.... but THE ENDING. WHY.
I read books to escape reality, not to have it knock me in the face. 😂 (I'm kidding, y'all.) It was really sad, though. You can't help but love the characters.
Chasing Jupiter wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it did send me on a rocket ship. One that dreams like a child and hopes in the impossible... yet makes it happen.
Profile Image for Emma Troyer.
63 reviews64 followers
February 10, 2016
I was kind of wild with excitement when I found this at the library. Because, you see, I've been 'looking' for Chasing Jupiter for a long time. I discovered Rachel Coker's blog sometime last spring, found out she'd written two books as a young teenager, and was instantly intrigued. Being as they were, written by a homeschooler (which isn't a derogatory term but is sometimes used as such ;-P) I didn't expect to find them in any library near me. But then I DID. It must have been my lucky day or something. (Well, it was my birthday.)

At the beginning, Chasing Jupiter was a little bit boring. I didn't jump into the story right away. The writing seemed juvenile to me (in fact, I told my mother, "I can write better than this.") But that soon changed -- all at once I was there, in Georgia, tagging along with Scarlett and Cliff and Frank. All at once I cared about these people. And I regretted saying that I could write better than this, because the truth is I probably can't. ;-)

People, this is not a happy book. Scarlett's life is hard. Her parents are constantly stressed out, her brother is misunderstood by everyone (and can sometimes be a pain), her grandpa has some kind of weird mental disease, and her older sister is self-absorbed and wayward. Scarlett is the strongest person in her family, and so she's the one who takes the responsibility of keeping them together, and okay. But she can't do it all by herself, and when things start to crumble around her, there's only so much she can do to fix it. She can't make everything okay.

Scarlett is a gem. We all need a little more of Scarlett in us. She cares about her family even when they're, frankly, infuriating; she tries to keep optimistic; she's selfless in her giving, never thinking about her own needs. Cliff, her younger brother, was also a special character -- an intelligent but unpredictable ten-year-old with autism in a time when that was Super Weird. As for Frank Leggett, I pretty much adored him. He was just what Scarlett needed, and at the end when he told her how he really felt....well, that was it for me. I melted.

Frank and Scarlett's little love story was refreshing. Most YA romances bother me because they're so often angsty and troubled and have so much unnecessary drama. Frank and Scarlett were not like that at all. I loved how Scarlett described being with Frank as "easy" and "right", and how her heart ached when she saw him talking with Juli. (Of Whom I Am Not A Fan, btw.) She just loved him -- it was that simple. And finally Frank saw that and came around.

I love this book. It hurts, but it gleams too. It shines with Georgia sunshine, smells of peach pies, and crackles like gravel underneath bicycle tires.

Really Good Parts That I Wrote Down In My Journal:

"Maybe that's what our friendship was. It was the feeling that we didn't have to speak or explain. We could sit in the darkness and watch the tadpoles just as easily as we could lie out in the heat and breathe in the smell of peaches and gravel, all without saying a word."

"I was just pretty enough not to be pitied and just ordinary enough not to be noticed."

"Your voice is sweeter than peach pie and stronger than steel nails and softer than summer clouds." (Really, Frank, could you get any more adorable?)
Profile Image for Katrina Michelle.
222 reviews
November 12, 2017
A solid 4.5 stars!

This book tore me to pieces. It drew me into the story and the characters, appealing to my emotions and all the five senses (except touch, I guess xD). Then it wrapped lotiony fingers around my heart and squeezed until I could hardly breathe.

Historical fiction isn't my favorite genre, but BOY do I love a good hi-fi when I find one. This one was just... wow. O.O

There were too many typos for my liking, but I can let that kind of thing slide. Especially in this case. <3

My favorite part was the incorporation of Peter Pan. Like, PETER PAN, guys. My favorite fairy tale character ever. So... brownie points for that!

I just love this book so much. The ending was bittersweet but realistic. I also appreciate how short and sweet it was, but packed into such beauty and depth. <3

Profile Image for Maddy.
114 reviews97 followers
September 24, 2017
3.5 stars

I don't really know what to think about this book. I was really looking forward to it, but it just didn't meet the bar for me. I honestly felt like the whole thing was a little.. dull. Cliff was precious and I loved him, but honestly, I probably wouldn't have finished the book if he wasn't in it. This definitely wasn't a bad book,
it just didn't meet the expectations that I had for it.

With that being said, I normally don't read historical fiction. It's definitely not my favorite genre, so maybe that's why I didn't like it that much. ;)
Profile Image for Jesseca Wheaton.
Author 12 books184 followers
January 31, 2017
I don't know how to even describe how I felt about this book. It was so real, and just to heartbreakingly beautiful. It hurt so bad. The ending was so not what I was expecting. But it was just real and beautiful and heartbreaking. All at the same time. I'll write a full review a little later on. . .when I can adequately describe my feelings. :)
349 reviews2 followers
July 2, 2018
That ending tho. Ughhh! Why didn’t Cliff get better? At least Juli came back but ugh. That’s why I gave it four stars. I like happy endings (if I like the character).
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Gabriellyn.
Author 1 book42 followers
June 16, 2017
Okay. Wow. I may or may not have struggled to read the last 17% of this book through the tears! Amazing story, amazing message, amazing everything! Seriously, you must read this book. It will change you!
Profile Image for Olivia.
315 reviews70 followers
June 21, 2019
Technically, this book probably deserves closer to three stars, but I'm factoring in disappointed hopes. ;-P

It's a shame, because I felt like this started out really strong and had good potential, but then as it went on it just sort of fell off the rails (for me, at least).

I think one big thing--for me--is that it felt like there was no resolution?

There were also a few messages I didn't appreciate--the biggest one being the idea (which I feel is probably perpetuated in a lot of literature and film) that sending an aged relative to a nursing home is somehow the epitome of failure and laziness, the equivalent of a family just giving up on their loved one.


*pointed look*

I have not personally had to experience this, but I think I know enough to be able to say that sometimes, a retirement community simply is the best scenario for all parties concerned. I think I can say with confidence that some families make that decision not because they're giving up on their relative but because they are no longer able to provide the care that family member needs. And, also, it's probably a really hard process already; I'm sure families don't need entertainment turning that decision into some sort of selfish sin to be looked upon with disdain and judgment?!?! They're already in pain! Y'all can do better, story-makers!! Get with it.

Anyway. ;-P I'm sure Ms. Coker wasn't trying to insinuate that it always IS "giving up" on someone to send them to a facility; and I know facilities were different in those times; but still. I think that whole issue could have been handled better in the book.

Also, Mrs. Greene tells Scarlett that if she trusts God, she will--and I quote--"never be without peace. You will never get to a point where your strength is gone and you don't think you can go on." May I just say, on behalf of all believers who know how ridiculous such a promise is--what the heck???

I guess I just felt like there was a whole lot of dramaaaaaaaa, and that some of it, frankly, seemed a little exaggerated/unnecessary.

I have mixed feelings on Frank, too. I started out really liking him--and overall I still do--but honestly

ANYWHO. This kind of just turned into one big venting sesh, and this book probably doesn't deserve all that. It's definitely not a bad book--there were just some things in it that irked me, personally.
Profile Image for Rachelle Cobb.
Author 8 books285 followers
March 10, 2013

I loved Scarlett.

(It was because I was pleased to find the resemblance to Scarlett O'Hara was nonexistent after the name-connection.)

Right away, her spunky inner voice, her awareness of her own awkwardness, and her selfless (but not saintly-perfect) attitude with her family drew me in. She can make fun of herself and laugh without ever visibly cracking a grin, which endeared me as a reader. She could analyze her own actions, especially when it came to her interactions with Frank and others outside her immediate family, and roll her eyes at how weird she seems.

Most importantly, she loves her family, as "dysfunctional" as it can be. She doesn't bat an eye at her brother Cliff's daring birthday list. She just jumps right in to making his dreams come true.

The first handful of chapters came slowly for me, but I kept reading because Scarlett seems like someone I would choose for a friend, someone kind and loyal and a little bit quirky.

What I Didn't Like As Much

Though I took a few days to read the beginning, I raced through the latter two-thirds of this beautiful book. Only one scene made me wince, when an older woman Scarlett (and I) had grown to respect seemed to give her advice on "telling the young man how you feel" or something like that. That struck me as slightly non-traditional, but that sort of suits the time period, doesn't it? =)

(Speaking of time period, what a fun one! Especially since Scarlett can be retro and listen to Bing Crosby, my favorite!)

And, anyway, Scarlett never really does that. But I won't spoil the ending for you.

Why I Recommend This Book

The ending is so sweet, it doesn't deserve to be spoiled. Really, this book had me sighing and smiling sadly so often. Scarlett's story is lovely, even as punctured with sorrow as it is. In fact, it's the puncture-holes that allow the light of God's love to come shining through.

"I never said God wouldn't help you at all. I just said he wouldn't help you in the way you want. The beauty of salvation and God's grace isn't in him solving all of our problems instantly, like a magic genie. Its beauty comes in the assurance that he has a great plan for you."
Mrs. Greene to Scarlett, page 103

I had tears in my eyes as I read the ending. I heartily recommend this book if you love a story that is both heart-wrenching and tugs on the heart strings.
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 40 books398 followers
March 11, 2015
Age Appropriate For: 10 and up for some thematic elements.
Best for Ages: 14 - 20

I loved Coker’s first book so much that I went out and paid full price for her second book when it came out. For those of you who don’t know me, this never happens. I normally wait until the price comes down or until I can get it to review. I just don’t have the money to buy books new and fresh off the press. So, as you can tell, I was very excited about the book.
Since I was in the middle of a project when I got the book, I let my younger sister read it first, since she was also a Coker fan. She finished it and said she was disappointed with the book. So, I put off reading the book. When I finally got around to reading it, I went in with low expectations.

Scarlett was just a hard character to connect with; in fact I didn’t until I was about 60% done. After an accident and Scarlet is wondering if her loved one will live or die, I finally found my connection, as I had been through some of the same emotions with one of my siblings. While Scarlett was a well-developed character and well written, most of the time she just seemed distant from the reader.
Coker’s writing was superb in her last book, but it was even better in this one. Her style and way with words is nothing short of being brilliant. I am sure that, with her talent, she will go far in her writing career.

The supporting cast of this book was excellent. Frank was my favorite, the kind animal lover who wants to help Scarlett and Cliff have a wonderful summer. Cliff, a boy who obviously has some sort of mental handicap like down-syndrome, tugged at my heart strings. Her Grandfather made me sad as I thouoght of the wonderful elderly people I have known that have had dementia. Juli was the wild child, but she was still likable.

My favorite part of this book was Scarlett’s talks with the pastor’s wife as she tried to figure out what the purpose of life and hardships are. I felt that Coker did a great job at answering these tough questions, and give real hope, not syrupy answers.

Over all, I recommend this book to those who like historical fiction, great storytelling, and coming-of-age stories.

Profile Image for Micaiah Saldaña.
78 reviews31 followers
September 25, 2019
My Rating: Four Peach Pies out of Five

What I Loved...

The characters were absolutely wonderful. I think that they could’ve all sat around eating peach pie and this book would be just as good. Grandpop Barley, Cliff, Scarlett, Frank…. All of them were sweet and eccentric in their own way.

The setting was perfect for the story. I just wanted to get lost in 1960s Georgia with Frank, Scarlett, and Cliff. Rachel Coker made the setting very real and very vivid. I could almost imagine that I was in Georgia myself!

The story made me smile multiple times. Who couldn’t smile when Cliff writes a sign in Spanish or argues with Grandpop Barley? And who couldn’t smile at such tender moments as the ones with Frank in the peach orchard?

God’s love and grace were evident on the pages. I loved that God’s love and grace changed Scarlett’s life and the lives of those around her. The author showed this beautifully in Chasing Jupiter.

Who couldn’t love all of the peach pies? You had better have a peach pie nearby as you read this book, or you will get very hungry. Trust me on this one, okay? 😉

What I Didn't Love...

I felt like everything was wrapped up a bit too quickly. One moment there was a disaster, and then in the next twenty or so pages, everything was resolved. I wish that there had been more pages dedicated to the resolution and falling action of the novel.

The story wandered into preachy territory at times. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like the author could’ve brought the themes across in a more subtle, meaningful way.


Chasing Jupiter is the perfect summer read. If you love endearing characters, historical fiction, peach pies, and rockets to Jupiter, then this book is most definitely for you.


“You can stay perched in your bird cage forever. Or you can fly.”
–Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker
Profile Image for Jazzy.
202 reviews62 followers
February 20, 2018
3.5 stars.

Honestly, I feel so ornery not-giving this book a 5 star rating. I had such high expectations for it, and it just didn't meet the bar for some reason. Don't get me wrong, the plot was really good, it held a lot of potential. But for me, it wasn't executed properly. There were some parts that just felt a little scattered, like "where did this revelation come from?" Idk. Maybe it's just me. But Scarlett felt almost shallow, and that really bugged me. Her character just didn't shine, which drags the plot.

The faith in this book was very well written though. That's one thing that i did like, was her journey in finding peace. One thing (these are the parts that made me cringe) was the ship. Gosh. I can't even begin..... like, i feel like this is totally just a "me" thing, but i did not like the ship! Idk! I mean, she wasn't like thaaaaaat close with him, and she claimed to be in love with him and wanted to marry him? I feel like that was just a glorified crush, and even the pastor's wife was telling her to tell him how she felt. I just. CANT. This is why i cringed. I feel like, in this department, she was still very immature.

The big picture story itself was beautiul, and in the end it was a good book, especially for being Coker's first! But i honestly can't say that i enjoyed it, or love it... which KILLLLSS me because I was SO looking forward to enjoying this book! Shoot! x(
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jaze Sedgwick.
115 reviews31 followers
July 19, 2022
I simply adore this book. The plot was so simple and yet it was so moving. It's a simple story of a southern country teenage girl from the 60s who's dealing with family issues, searching for her own identity, and nursing an unrequited crush on a friend who's pining for her wayward hippie sister. What I love about this is the lessons of love the reader can get from this book. I also love how Scarlett is devoted to her younger brother who has special needs and the budding swooning romance that develops between her and Frank, who initially has a crush on her older sister.

It's a lovely read, I recommend this to anyone who likes to read books about families and coming of age stories.
Profile Image for R.A..
Author 31 books88 followers
September 1, 2018
Oh my, this book made my heart ache all over!! It's absolutely amazing though.

The story was incredible and the characters were just as great!! They all had unique things about them that made me smile.

I understood Scarlett quite a lot - she reminded me a little bit of myself at times. I agree that at the age sixteen and seventeen, one just feels slightly stuck, not really sure what to do. I feel like that at eighteen! I love her love for her brother, and well, her whole family! She loves them despite all the problems floating around.
Every time she made one of her special peach pies, my mouth was watering because the author had to describe it so beautifully!

Cliff was adorable! I laughed, I nearly cried, and just really loved him while I read this book! He was so sweet. I'll chum up with Scarlett because I love him even though he is a little bit strange.. that's how he was made after all! Those times he refers to himself in third person made me smile! And he wants to be the first astronaut to fly to Jupiter! <3

Frank. I can't believe he actually thought Juli - Scarlett's sister - was just perfect. That's just completely wrong! I'm so glad he starts admiring a certain other girl though! <3 His love for caring for animals was sweet!

Mrs. Greene was such a nice lady! That scene with she and her husband was hilarious... Scarlett was so embarrassed! :D

And everyone else. There were a lot of characters and I loved them all!!

A few swear words. Scarlett's sister is basically a hippie, but there's not a lot of details of that.

This book is one of the few books that my throat tightens up and my eyes start watering! It's so bittersweet... beautiful is every way! You must go read it if you haven't … along with Rachel Coker's other book, Interrupted: Life Beyond Words.
Profile Image for Olivia.
674 reviews104 followers
December 5, 2017
Bittersweet reads are my weakness. Some readers took awhile to like Scarlett, but I understood her from the very beginning--her hopes, her dreams, and her fears. And every character from this book drew me in more and more as I read.

I don't know what's worse: guessing what is going to happen and preparing yourself for it or hoping it won't happen at all. But that ending was literally so heart-rending for me! Cliff, Frank, Scarlett's grandpa, and even her sister had me thinking of life through their eyes. For such a young author I commend how she portrayed each character!

Romance was sweet and clean. If I read this a few years ago I probably would have been swooning the whole time, so I would give a little caution for younger teen readers. There were a few hugs between a guy and girl, lots of interest and some talk about loving each other at 17 and 18, and also an non-detailed scene with a married couple kissing.

Spiritual content threaded it's way through in a way that I loved. Once again, like with Sam in Interrupted, I would have liked to see more of Frank's spiritual side. Mrs. Greene's wisdom was beautiful!

I highly recommend this book, and enjoyed it immensely!
Profile Image for mirawibel.
70 reviews11 followers
September 10, 2017
I laughed. I cried. I swooned. I finished it in one glorious afternoon, and was left with a huge goofy grin on my face for the rest of the day.

This book right here. First of all, it's published by a TEEN AUTHOR. That's right fellow teen writers, there is hope for us! Rachel's words and descriptions are perfect.

Secondly, the characters. There wasn't one in the main cast who was considered socially acceptable. Scarlett talks to herself and is best friends with her ten year old brother. Cliff has autism in a day where few knew what is was, speaks Spanish phrases, and wants to go to Jupiter. Pop Barley never goes anywhere without his red tie, and has an affinity for peanut butter. Frank rescues animals and has a crazy mother with a love for the tango. Juli...but I'll stop there. Read this book simply for the depth of every. single. character. Rachel adds quirks and fleshes out personalities extremely well.

Thirdly, this is a teen Christian novel that is not 'preachy' or 'shoves the Bible down your throat'. It keeps the faith aspect simple and realistic.

I suppose the word that most describes this novel is REALISTIC. The characters were realistic, the faith was realistic, the family struggles were realistic, and even the romance was the most realistic romance I have read in a long time. Can Frank and Scarlett be any cuter?!?

Read this book. Laugh. Cry. Swoon. And then join me, with the biggest goofy grin plastered on your face, because it's that good.
Profile Image for Gillian Adams.
Author 7 books515 followers
March 9, 2013
The year is 1969, and Scarlet Blaine's family is struggling to hold together. When her brother Cliff wishes for a rocket to Jupiter after watching the first moon landing, Scarlet jumps into the plan wholeheartedly. With the help of Frank, son of the local peach farmer, Scarlet and Cliff bake peach pies to raise money. But as the summer draws to a close, a tragic accident pushes the rocket launch to the back burner and leaves Scarlet wondering what to do when the world falls apart.

Rachel Coker is a young author from Virginia. Her first book, Interrupted released last year. (You can read my review here.) While I enjoyed Interrupted, I loved Chasing Jupiter and can't wait to see what Rachel Coker comes up with next!

The main characters were believable and lovable, with plenty of those unique quirks that make characters leap off the page and become fully human. Scarlet's love for her younger brother Cliff was beautiful, as was her willingness to step in and help her family. I loved watching the relationship grow between Scarlet and Frank. No fireworks and thunderclaps, just that slow easy friendship that feels so real.

1960's Georgia offered a rich setting that fit the story like a glove. You could feel the summer's heat, practically smell the peach pies, and see the dust of the gravel roads.

Chasing Jupiter was sweet as peaches, and yet heartbreaking at the same time. Rachel Coker isn't afraid to make bad things happen to her characters. The story wraps you up tight, twists you around, and leaves your stomach in knots, but you don't mind, because it's so good.

All in all, I highly recommend Chasing Jupiter for anyone who'd like a good heart-warming/tear-jerking read to curl up with in the sunshine this spring or summer.
Profile Image for Rebekah.
Author 5 books45 followers
March 21, 2016
Wow. This book was very good. :) I got it on a recommendation from a friend (you know who you are... B-) and I was immediately sucked into the story the moment I started reading it. The main character, Scarlett, is very easy to relate to and feel for. The author did a wonderful job creating and sustaining her personality throughout the entire book (which, as an author myself I know is sometimes very difficult to do. :)
One thing I didn't like was that the main character's older sister was disobedient, selfish, and rebellious. Thankfully, she doesn't show up much in the book.
Everything else about it: the plot, (most of) the characters, the setting...was awesome. I definitely would say it's a book worth your time.
There is some romance, so I would put the "age limit" at about 16 and up. It's targeted towards girls, but I think some boys would find it at least enjoyable. :)
Profile Image for Victoria.
58 reviews19 followers
April 4, 2017
I thought this would be a 'meh' book, but I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would. The writing style is captivating and mature. The characters are colorful, realistic, and captivating. I feel like many young Christian writers don't have a grasp on how to realistically portray dysfunctional families, but this was perfect. I related to Scarlett on more than one level, and her faith journey was realistic. I also appreciate [the ending not being a perfect, fairy-tale ending. Shoutout to Coker for not doing the whole believe-in-God-and-all-your-problems-will-be-fixed!!! thing].

That being said, I found some things a bit cheesy and others rather unrealistic and rushed. The pacing was also a bit too slow for my liking. Otherwise, highly recommended.
Profile Image for Hailey Rose.
Author 5 books104 followers
September 9, 2018
This is the PERFECT Sunday afternoon read. So sweet, sad, and has all the lovely feels of summertime...ahhhh. So much love for this sweet little story. The characters are relatable and quirky, and immediately I related to Scarlett and wanted her to succeed. Cliff was sweet and lovable, yet somewhat annoying like younger brothers are usually apt to be. Grandpop was awesome. I love his role in the story. Scarlett is such a precious soul, exactly the type of person I would want as a friend. I highly recommend this sweet book!
Profile Image for Abigayle Claire.
Author 8 books223 followers
November 18, 2017
Apparently I have a soft spot for books that are about "the summer I grew up." This is one of those books. Except it's set in the late 60s in Georgia. Scarlett's older sister is going hippie and her younger brother is undiagnosed with autism. Her parents both work jobs and have financial struggles, so she tries to stay out from under foot and take over the workload. And there's the senile Grandpop Barley who just wants to be left alone with peanut butter and the TV.

The characters are all so colorful, and I really enjoyed Scarlett finding her way as she makes a promise to her brother Cliff to build him a rocket. That means baking and fundraising. And spending time with the awesome animal-lover Frank.

How Ms Coker kept the "Scarlett-likes-Frank-likes-Julie" from getting annoying, I'll never know. Scarlett gets advice and handles it well. She and Frank both misread some things and it's sweet to see their friendship blossom into something more as they finally talk through some things.

Life goes from meh to bad to downright awful in this book. Like ... catastrophic. And it makes you hurt because you see how hard Scarlett's trying, and she feels like none of it matters. Everything's going to come crashing down anyway.

But she finds peace in the most beautiful and non-preachy salvation scene I've ever read. (It's not sudden, she's been faithfully attending church but ignoring God for the whole book.) And so even though not everything gets better, she finds what really matters. As the glue for her family, she no longer fights the urge to escape it all. Things improve just enough to make you realize everything's going to work out. And it makes Scarlett realize that she grew up that summer.

Wholehearted recommend for ages 12+. There are two accidents in the book that can be a little disturbing, a mention of a death, and working through a crush. But all of it is resolved and written tastefully.
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