Orbiting Jupiter

As if adolescence wasn’t hard enough, Joseph, an 8th grader, deals with the growing pains of life, an abusive father, and loss. A mere boy of fourteen, Joseph’s world is turned upside down when he is faced with fatherhood, the death of someone close, and a juvenile record. Though haunted by his troubled past, he finds comfort and stability in his new foster family where more hardship eventually manifests into peace and hope.

Schmidt, G. (2015). Orbiting Jupiter. New York: Clarion Books.

Evaluative Criteria: Plot and Characters

  • From beginning to end, Orbiting Jupiter engages the reader with a plot that unfolds the turmoil and hardship in a young boy’s life. As discussed in the readings, it presents a “slice of life”, an unstable reality for a teenager that is undeniably believable, especially nowadays. Additionally, the ending is one the reader could predict, but with a slight twist, making the story “inevitable, but not obvious”, and concludes on an optimistic note with Jupiter being adopted by Jack’s parents. As for the characters, Joseph’s emotional status is one many adolescents can relate to, and his issues are ones the reader can identify with. We can see Joseph’s emotional growth as the story evolves, his struggle to overcome his insecurities and relationships with others, and how he begins to feel comfortable with expressing his feelings. These are all inner workings of most teenagers, so they’re able to make that connection.

A conversation with Gary Schmidt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (2015, March 12). Orbiting Jupiter: A Conversation with Author Gary Schmidt. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_CXIR6dqGU

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