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Orbiting Jupiter

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  26,977 ratings  ·  5,021 reviews
When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already knows three things about him:

Joseph almost killed a teacher.

He was incarcerated at a place 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
Kindle Edition, 183 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Clarion Books
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K. Thielen I'm a middle school librarian and I think this book is appropriate for middle school. Even though there is some mature subject matter involving teen p…moreI'm a middle school librarian and I think this book is appropriate for middle school. Even though there is some mature subject matter involving teen pregnancy, it is only the result of the pregnancy that is discussed in any detail in the book. There may be some sensitivity to the concluding chapters as well for some students, but I believe my seventh and eighth graders, as well as my mature sixth grade readers would be fine with the book. I do agree that "Children's" is a misleading label, however. (less)
April Some other YA realistic fiction books that deal with similar themes and issues include:
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
The First Part Last by Ang…more
Some other YA realistic fiction books that deal with similar themes and issues include:
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
Hanging on to Max by Margaret Bechard
Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman(less)

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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  26,977 ratings  ·  5,021 reviews

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Emily May
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2 stars. My god, this book was so sad.

I'm not a book crier. Not really. When I say a book made me cry I usually mean that tears filled my eyes, but that's all. This book, though... I got pretty close a few times and then in the penultimate chapter, I just lost it. I actually felt my face crumple and my nose was stinging.

Now I've painted you that beautiful picture of my breakdown, I'm going to try to review this book. It's not easy. I've loved Schmidt's other YA/Middle Grade contemporary nove
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book is short. its only about 200 pages and it took me less than an hour to read. the writing is very straightforward and easy. but this book is anything but simple. its a story of the highest quality.

and the overwhelming value of this story outweighs any of its slightness. because i cannot describe how profoundly this moved me, especially the last two chapters.

this book is proof that stories do not need to be long and extravagant or deep with hidden meanings. some of the most touching stor
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ by: Emily May

This book takes all your certainties and let them shaken to the core.

This book quietly breaks your heart through and through... but rarely characters managed to make me feel a love so bright, so pure and real.

This book doesn't need quirky teenagers or fantastic settings to enthrall you, but pictures real life issues with such honestly and tenderness.

This book doesn't do purple prose, clever metaphors, and yet I love this writing to pieces for the powerful way it conveys emotions, quietly, so,
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: year-2017
If there is a benevolent, all-powerful God, then why does He allow evil to persist?

This is the question that this short book made me ponder.

I once saw an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson in which he expressed that the existence of a God that is both omnipotent & benevolent is in itself contradictory to the existence of evil in the world.

God must therefore be one or the other; He must either be all powerful with a capacity for allowing evil, or he must be all benevolent without the ability
Beautiful and devastating. Don't miss this one, but get tissue for the inevitable sobbing. ...more
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very beautiful and heartbreaking. Orbiting Jupiter is the story of a fourteen year old boy, Joseph, who was in prison and is now joining the twelve year old narrator Jack's family as a foster child. Between these boys, we learn what it means to have someone's back and how powerful friendship can be. We slowly learn Joseph's backstory including the fact that he has a baby daughter, Jupiter, he has never even seen. This is a very quick read and has the message of getting to know someone before ju ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“Christmas is the season for miracles, you know. Sometimes they come big and loud, I guess – but I’ve never seen one of those. I think probably most miracles are a lot smaller, and sort of still, and so quiet, you could miss them. I didn’t miss this one.”

Palm Springs commercial photography

WTF have you done to me, Anna? Good grief. I had feelings two days in a row. My robot heart is obviously in need of a tune-up.

Orbiting Jupiter begins with Jack’s family makin
“He really could have been any other eighth-grade kid at Eastham Middle School. Except he had a daughter.”

How do I even write this review?

I love books, in case you hadn't noticed. I dedicate so much of my time to reading because I am constantly searching for those exciting stories with living, breathing characters. Yet out of all the novels I've read, only one I've ever come across has made me cry.

I sniffled at the end of Allegiant and A Monster Calls, but the book that really did it for m
Dave Schaafsma
I read this in 2015 and it was one of my favorite books of the year. I just read it again for a YA class and will amend the review a little to account for my current view of it.

I quote Richie Partington's review: "Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; The Wednesday Wars; and Trouble are three well-known historical novels for young people by Gary D. Schmidt. Each of the three contains a complex, exceptionally well-drawn father character. Each of the three fictional fathers exhibits notable blind
Sarah Churchill
Why are all the books out to break me?!

I feel numb. For a middlegrade this is incredibly deep and touching, it will forever change the way I look at 'trouble kids' and I WANT TO HUG JOSEPH!

There isn't really anything I can add other than the synopsis without spoiling anything, so I won't. Just know that 192 pages can do a lot.
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This book WRECKED me. It played my emotions like I was a Strad violin and the author a prodigy musician. Seriously, you need to read this book and you need to read it NOW.

Et hem. Excuse me. Let me start again. Please note I will be vague, as I do not want to spoil this book for anyone.

The narrator of the book is a 12 year old boy, living in Maine with his parents on a farm. They foster a 14 year old boy who has a heart of gold and has been through the wringer re: crappy abusive ignorant parent,
Lala BooksandLala
wow, for such a short story, I felt invested pretty early on. heartbreaking.
This could have been so, so much better- and nearly was, until three-quarters of the way through, when all of the plot devices you're hoping weren't going to be pulled out suddenly are, and the book ends on an almost insultingly predictable way. This had all the makings of a truly amazing book- the writing, in particular, was so different from Schmidt's earlier books- haunting, spare, simple language. The characters remained a bit underdeveloped, but in a good way, like acquaintances rather than ...more
This was just a wonderful YA book, and yes it has affected me emotionally and deeply. A 14 year old boy fathered a baby daughter, got into some trouble at school, was sent to a juvenile detention center, and then into foster care with a loving farm family. Now his greatest desire is to be with his daughter, Jupiter, named after his favorite planet and also in foster care. Joseph's yearning to be with Jupiter reminded me so much of the great Aerosmith song I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing that I just h ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
sounds interesting, might pick this up
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I was very much looking forward to Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt because I generally really enjoy Gary Scmidt's books. After reading the first chapter, I was certain that this one would wreck me emotionally. Possibly more than any other. I wasn't wrong. But I also wasn't right. I was expecting a good sort of emotionally destroyed. A Code Name Verity type of emotionally destroyed. That's not what I got.

Jack lives a quiet sheltered life
Elle (ellexamines)
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of short gut-punchers
Recommended to Elle by: Ms. B at the library
Orbiting Jupiter is one of the saddest books I've read in my entire life, and I don't say that lightly. It is meant to make you sob, and it will. This book follows Jack and his foster brother Joseph, a 14-year-old boy who has a daughter he's never met.

Usually I'd take issue with this kind of book for the emotional manipulation. However, the emotional realness of this one definitely stands out. It's quietly sad. The characters never tell you to feel– you just feel anyway. I didn't feel manipulat
kazually ♡
i cried,,, to say this storyline and writing is just beautiful would be an understatement.

this book is pretty short but really complex and layered. it said everything it needed in just under two hundred pages. the amount of character and plot development is astonishing for such a short book.
Krista Regester
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a perfect, sad, humanizing, little book. If you are ever in the mood to cry – now’s your chance.

The book mentions a Brunswick Librarian … how freaking weird is that? TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.
Anu Khadka
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
1st read of 2021 and it was heartbreakingly beautiful 🥲
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely gut wrenching. I easily fell in love with Joseph and his foster family. If only all foster kids could be so lucky to get a family like this. And Jack! Can't say enough about him. Immediately ready to go to bat for Joseph! This is definitely one you need to put on your tbr pile. ...more

Ya'll I MAD CRIED ON THE PLANE. I was so pissed and so TERRIBLY ANGRY.

Orbiting Jupiter is interesting. One of it's poignant moments: The unveiling of Joseph's backstory is slightly reminiscent of The Notebook and I'm not sure if it's a) because life looks different as a 13-year old, b) the cynicism of my adulthood has set in or c) if I really hope and believe that "true love" at such a young age exists.

In the end, WHO CARES?! I'm serious, the love story wasn't even why I was angry. It was the
May 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very small book only 183 pages, double spaced. Easy read in one sitting. But it is in no way a small story.

I did not find it YA-ish just because the main character, Joseph, is a thirteen year old boy and his foster brother is a couple years younger.

The content of the story deals with grown-up situations that most people could relate to – even if you’re old (like me).

It is a story about family and friendship and understanding.
You can tell all you need to know about someone from the way cows are around him.

This is Jack’s opinion concerning his new foster-brother, Joseph, who may have trouble with teachers and the other kids in school, but he is loved by Rosie the cow. Generally, I do find animals’ responses to people to say a bit at least about their mood. Horses certainly know whether you are paying attention or not (and will plant a big hoof on your foot if they are displeased with your lack of regard).

Carrie Gelson
I read this title in one sitting because it is impossible not to. Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Full of hope and pain. Gary D Schmidt is one of my absolute favourite authors, hands down.
Jahanzaib Asim
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i fuc*ing hate everyone.
i hate hate hate hate everyone.
I'm just going to cry myself to sleep now...
Angels, where the hell were you?
A spare, heartbreaking, gorgeous book. I wish to say no more.
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, adult
Oh my goodness, I think my heart just grew a size after reading this.
Richie Partington
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: box10, fiction
Richie’s Picks: ORBITING JUPITER by Gary D. Schmidt, Clarion, October 2015, 192p., ISBN: 978-0-544-46222-9

“‘Would you have left a guy being beat up to go find a teacher?’ I asked.
“My father, he wiped his hand across his face, and what was left behind was a smile.
“Really, a smile.
“‘Not in a million years,’ he said.
“‘John!’ said my mother.
“‘Well, he asked,’ said my father. ‘Just be careful, Jack. Be careful.’”

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; The Wednesday Wars; and Trouble are three well-kno
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Gary D. Schmidt is an American children's writer of nonfiction books and young adult novels, including two Newbery Honor books. He lives on a farm in Alto, Michigan,with his wife and six children, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, feeds the wild cats that drop by and wishes that sometimes the sea breeze came that far inland. He is a Professor of English at Calvin College.


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