This past week I read Gary Schmidt's Orbiting Jupiter (publication date 10/6/15) and truthfully, I am still trying to recover. I had read on GoodReads and in reviews that this is a book about teenage pregnancy and yet SLJ has a suggested reading age of grades 6+. Sixth grade seemed a little young for a book about teen pregnancy, so I was interested to see how Schmidt dealt with this difficult topic.
Well, as it turns out, I wouldn't describe this as "a book about teenage pregnancy." Yes, Joseph is a thirteen year old father, but the story is so much bigger. So. much. bigger. Schmidt addresses the pregnancy with a surprising light hand (in terms of the actual “how she got pregnant” moment) and aside from the fact that the kids obviously had sex, there is nothing at all racy or excessively YA about it.
Instead, it is a book about love and sorrow and about the ways that family can both wound and save us. It is hard for me to write a review without spoilers, so I am going to keep it brief. Suffice to say, Orbiting Jupiter completely blindsided me - I literally couldn’t sleep after I read it. It is haunting and stunning and I highly recommend that you read it.
Other books I read and enjoyed this week: