I was not ready for the feels trip that this book sent me on. At 183 pages, it’s quite a short one, but I was still near to tears by the end.
‘Orbiting Jupiter’ tells the story of Joseph, Jack’s new foster brother with quite a disturbing past. Jack knows three things about Joseph:
- Joseph almost killed a teacher
- Joseph was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain
- Joseph has a daughter that he has never met. Her name is Jupiter.
Joseph is only thirteen, yet has fathered a child. This is one of the shock moments throughout the book; it’s almost unbelievable, and you immediately start asking all the questions about him. How did it happen? Where were the parents? What about the mother? Where is Jupiter? Is she okay?
What we do know is that Joseph loves his daughter, and is desperate to find her and tell her how much she is loved. The story becomes the blind determination of Joseph, helped by Jack, to find Jupiter.
Plunging you into the cold winter of rural Maine, you feel yourself shiver as the days get colder and the snow begins to fall, but are warmed by the unusual friendship that Jack and Joseph share. It’s almost like defence; Jack ignores his friends at school and instead defends Joseph from the rumours. You can tell he wants to shield Joseph from the world. Joseph himself is heartbreaking – we get peeks into his life before joining Jack and his family. We see his love, his hurt, his determination, his abandonment. It’s enough to make you weep.
The ending was enough to make me scream. After all that? I won’t spoil it, but all it took was one small thing. The small thing spiralled, and left me broken and empty and gripping the pages in pure shock.
Final thoughts: Grab a tissue box, you’ll need them after this rollercoaster. 5/5