Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Original

Heartbreaking

Uplifting

Beautiful

My feelings on this book are best summed up by the words above.

I dont read a lot of Middle Grade books but I find it hard to believe that the plot of this book has been done before. Fostering and very young teenage pregnancy is not something you hear much about in books at all so that made this story all the more wonderful for me.

The writing in the shape of first person narrator, Jack is just a joy to read. He carries us with him on the journey so well and considering the nature of the story, the author avoids making this a sickly sweet read, instead its a well crafted, well balanced tale which drew me in and made me fall in love with it.

I had one small little issue which i cant really talk about without being spoilery sadly but it didnt stop me giving this a clear 5 stars and wanting to give everyone i know a copy for Christmas.

This was the first of the eight books from my Zoella Book Club bundle (a post coming soon with more about this) and if they are all half as good as this one then im in for a right old treat.

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

This is about three friends, Dill, Lydia and Travis who live in a small town in Tennessee. The book begins in their final year of school before graduation. They all have incredibly different backgrounds, stories and lives but have become close and firm friends.

Of the three characters Lydia quickly became my favourite. I loved the way she handled herself with kids at school who taunted and bullied her, she was so at ease in her own skin but as the book went on she turned into a right little madam. She talked to her father like he was her flunky, ordering him to do this and that, the annoying thing was he did it all instead of teaching her some manners.

Dill i guess is the major character and the one we all feel the most for. His star grew as the book went on and had to overcome some terrible things. Travis was great too, probably my favourite by the end. I loved hanging out with these characters and feeling part of their lives and decisions. Jeff Zentner writes wonderful dialogue and has an ear for a good conversation. Witty and insightful and full of passion.

For the most part this book is beautifully written and just doesnt feel like a debut novel. It has the assurance of an author of many years standing.  My only gripe was that the writing was sometimes too flowery, the odd storyline a bit too sugary and one part of the plot was just way too unbelievable and ‘too good to be true’ for words but overall it kept me page turning and i really enjoyed reading it.  I gave it 4 stars and would highly recommend it.

 

 

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