‘He loved her. He had never known love before. He had never known how much it could fill him. He had never known anything, he thought. Behind the acreage, they walked along a frozen river and Madeleine pretended she was skating. She was beautiful beyond beautiful, even skating in her boots. The sun went down and she skated in her boots, and skated, and skated, and Joseph watched her until the sky was dark and Jupiter was up and Joseph pointed to it: ‘It’s my favourite planet,’ he said. And she held his arm and looked at Jupiter and she said, ‘Mine too – now.”
Author: Gary D. Schmidt
Summary: When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already knows three things about him. 1. Joseph almost killed a teacher. 2. He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain. 3. He had 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 be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.
This story is narrated from 12 year old Jack’s point of view and. His parents foster children and when they foster Joseph, Jack’s life changes in a number of ways. As the story progresses we learn of 2 stories run alongside each other, the past and the present.
Joseph’s backstory is heart wrenching, we learn that he is a 14 year old father to a child he has never seen but his heart yearns for. Whilst us, as adults, can understand that Jupiter being raised by a family away from Joseph is the right thing to do, it doesn’t make the heartbreak any easier to read. All Joseph wants is a chance to love his daughter and do what is right. A chance to give her the happiness and loving home he never had growing up.
The novel being written from a 12 year old’s perspective makes it so much more powerful in the sense that children are helpless in certain situations no matter how much they want to help/be involved in something mature above their years.
This book made me cry twice throughout, once during the truth about Joseph’s story and once during the climax toward the end of the story. As the Guardian rightly reviewed on the cover of this book, the story is truly ‘Beautiful, Tragic & Heartbreaking’.
I have rated this book a 4/5 on the sole basis that I felt like the last quarter of the book was very rushed. Even though I was extremely satisfied with the ending, for that reason I would rate this book 4/5.
A definite recommendation from me, a very easy read and not a huge book at all.