Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Courtesy of Worldcat.org

“‘He won’t talk about what happened to him there. But since he left Stone Mountain, he won’t wear anything orange. He won’t let anyone stand behind him. He won’t go into rooms that are too small. And he won’t eat canned peaches.

Schmidt, Gary D. Orbiting Jupiter.  Clarion, 2015. 183 pages. Hardcover. $17.99, ISBN 978-0-544-46222-9

This story takes place in a small town in Maine – on a dairy farm – with a loving family who takes in a foster child. The family has one child of their own, Jack, who is twelve. Jack is the narrator of this story. They take in Joseph who is just a couple of years older than Jack. There are quite a few things that you learn about Joseph right away. He almost killed a teacher (after taking a drug that someone gave him when he was upset). He spent time at a juvenile prison facility called Stone Mountain. He has a daughter, Jupiter, who he has never met. When he arrives, he does very little talking. He has never had this kind of family life. He was raised by an abusive father. Over time he learns to trust this family and becomes friends with Jack. This is a story of a father’s undying love for his child. It is also a story of how far a family and a friend will go to help.

Gary Schmidt’s website, provides a link to the first chapter of the Orbiting Jupiter. Read it for yourself. I think you will be truly moved by the story.

HRS Black-Eyed Susan

Courtesy of www. public-domain-image.com

Orbiting Jupiter is a Grades 6-9 nominee for the 2016-2017 Black Eyed Susan Award. For more information go to the Maryland Association of School Librarians.


Gary Schmidt talks about his book Orbiting Jupiter:


  • Capitol Choices 2016
  • Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Books of 2015, Middle Grade
  • Booklist Best Young Adult Books of 2015
  • ALA Notable Books for Children 2016, Older Readers
  • VOYA’s Perfect Tens 2015; 2016 Winner, Notable Books for a Global Society
  • CCBC Choices 2016, Fiction for Young Adults
  • 2015 Cybils Awards Nomination, Young Adult Fiction

Courtesy of hmhbooks.com



Fight Back by Brent R. Sherrard

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“There are two ways to handle being picked on. One is to lie down and give up. The other is to get angry and fight back. Not against my dad, because he would’ve killed me. But anyone else who ever messed with me only did it once

Sherrard, Brent. Fight Back. James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2014. 174 pages. Paperback. $9.95, ISBN 1-4594-0858-6

Tyler has had a rough life – really rough. When he was eleven, his mother left with his sister for a drive and never came back. Tyler was left with an angry drunk father who took his anger out on the only person left – Tyler. From here, Tyler was taken in and subsequently kicked out by his grandmother. What now?  Where would Tyler go? Tyler is taken in by the Conley’s who give him something he’s never had before – a safe and loving home. He even starts boxing to help control his anger. Will this be enough? Will he be able to let go of all the anger that has been building up for years? Will he be able to trust this new family? What about his father? Read this awesome book to find out.


Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.

Courtesy of Writers Federation of New Brunswick

Available in:


Library Binding


Want to learn more about Brent R Sherrard? Click here to learn more.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Nick and Valerie keep a list of all the people and things they hate to help them deal with all the abuse that they receive. It’s just a list, until the day Nick begins shooting and killing those on the list and then himself leaving Valerie to deal with the reality of it.

Brown, Jennifer. Hate List. Little, Brown and Company, 2009. 405 pages. Paperback. $8.99, ISBN 978-0-316-04145-4

“Valerie Leftman, 16, was the last victim shot before Nick Levil, the alleged shooter, reportedly turned the gun on himself.”

Nick was Valerie’s boyfriend. Nick and Valerie were both picked on and bullied at school – a lot. One way they found to deal with all of the abuse, was to make a Hate List. In this notebook were the names of people and things that they hated. But it was just a list, right? Until one day Nick came to school and began shooting, targeting those named in the Hate List.

Nick is gone but Valerie is left. Left to deal with her family and friends who don’t know if she was part of Nick’s plan or not. She’s left loving and missing someone who is now considered a monster. How could she still love Nick? She’s left wondering how she missed all the signs. She’s left finishing her senior year at the school where it all happened.

Read to see how Valerie deals with the internal and external turmoil after the tragedy at Garvin High School on May 2, 2008, a day she will never be able to forget. Will she be able to move on?

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

Book Trailer:

Courtesy of YouTube.com

Available in:



Kindle Edition

Jennifer Brown’s Website 

Facebook Account


School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.

Michigan Library Association’s Thumbs Up! Award

Louisiana Teen Readers Choice award

ALA Best Book for Young Adults

2012 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award

VOYA “Perfect Ten,”

 YALSA 2012 Popular Paperback

  2010 Thumbs Up! Winner

“I like realistic fiction. It’s what I read most. I like it because it’s most relatable.” Aly P. Age 15

Skinny by Donna Cooner

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Ever has been gaining wait since her mother passed away and now weighs 302 pounds. Skinny is the voice in her head that tries to hold her back but Ever is determined to lose the weight, get the man of her dreams, and sing the lead in the school play.

Cooner, Donna. Skinny. Point, 2012. 260 pages. Hardcover. $17.99, ISBN 978-0-545-42763-0

Ever is fifteen years old. Ever has a beautiful singing voice that no one ever gets to hear. Ever weighs 302 pounds. Ever has been gaining weight since her mother died. Skinny is the voice in her head that always tells her horrible things about herself, that tells her what horrible things others are thinking of her, that tells her she can’t do the things she wishes she could, that tells her she will never be loved.

The turning point for Ever is when her chair collapses on stage in front of the whole school while waiting to receive an award. After this, she decides to have gastric by-pass surgery. If she loses the weight, she can sing in the school play and she can have the love of her life, Jackson.

Follow Ever through the surgery and the year following as she learns some very important things about herself and her friends. Will she get the man of her dreams? Will she sing the lead in Cinderella? What about her best friend Rat? And what happens to Skinny?

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org


Available in:


Kindle Edition



YALSA 2013 Quick Pick Nominee

Book Trailer:

Book Trailer Courtesy of YouTube.com

Donna Cooner Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com

Donna Cooner’s Website  

 Twitter Acount

 Facebook Account

© Chris Peeler 2013