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



No Boyz Allowed by Ni-Ni Simone

Cover Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com

Gem and Malik move into their third foster home of the  year. Follow Gem as she tries to adjust to her new home and school, reconnect with an old friend, connect with new friends and a very sexy new boyfriend, and learn some things about herself along the way.

Simone, Ni-Ni. No Boyz Allowed. Kensington Publishing Corp., 2012. 244 pages. Paperback. $9.95, ISBN 978-0-7582-4193-1

Gem is sixteen, her brother Malik is eight, their mother is a crack head and they don’t know who their father is.

“The moment the soles of my crisp white Concords hit the concrete and my brother and I stood in front of our new foster home – our third one this year, our umpteenth this lifetime- I knew this was destined to be a hot mess.”

Gem has a bad attitude, to say the least. She’s fed up with the system and trusts no one but herself. Who could blame her with all that she and Malik have been through.

Gem used to love basketball and she was good at it. She had skillz.

“Never mind that playing ball was the only escape I had. The only worry-free zone in my life… I had to skip all that and fast forward to my reality-which had no room for three point plays.”

So what happens next? Gem reconnects with her best friend Pop from years ago, joins Pop’s No Boyz Allowed Club where no guy can come between their friendship and goes to a new school. Do you think she can lose the attitude and connect with her new family? What about basketball, will she play? And then there is her new oh soooo sexy boyfriend, Ny’eem. Will he be a problem for the No Boyz Allowed Club? Read and find out!

Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.

Available in:


Kindle Edition

Library Binding


Want to read another review? Click here for a Kirkus Review.

Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com

Want to learn more about Ni-Ni Simone? Click here to check out her website.

Like to follow Ni-Ni Simone on Twitter? Click here.

Or you can also go to the Ni-Ni Simone Official Facebook page here.

Click here to read an interview with Ni-Ni Simone.

© Chris Peeler 2013