Orbiting Jupiter seems like one of those books that I should be able to go on and on about…but I just can’t.
I found it a very quick read because of its simplicity – and yes, I know the target reading age is a lower one that YA is used to, but I think this hurt the book overall. I’m kinda saying that this book was wasted on the target age of the intended reader. I’m not saying that younger readers can’t or shouldn’t have serious subject matter to read about (within reason), but what I am saying is that in this instance, the subject matter was handled poorly and felt a bit all over the place and unsure of who it was aimed at.
The language was simple – but, I’ll admit, effective at some points if a little vague in places. I wanted a more in depth look at the emotions of the characters at the very least. The font size and page layout also made the book seem longer on the outside than it was actually reading it.
The simplicity of the book as a whole was incredibly frustrating at times. I wouldn’t have minded if it was just the language, or just the dialogue or just the descriptions that were simple, but all of these and more weren’t complex enough to fully grip me. I wish the book was longer – and by that I mean more fleshed out.
I felt like this book was in the wrong format – it would have been a great short story or even as a longer novel if more of the story, characters and events were explored more. But alas, instead of greatness we get ‘meh’.
” ‘So you want to tell me what a sixth grader was doing in the eighth-grade side of the locker room, in an eighth-grade fight?’ he said.
‘Winning,’ I said. “
The other big problem I had was overall believability with the characters and their motivations. The biggest example comes in the form of Joseph – one of the main characters. This child is 14 and a father, but (whilst I think that’s bad) that is not my gripe with his characterisation; no, instead Joseph wants to be a father. He deeply, sincerely wants to be a father and be the ‘perfect’ family with the mother. Nope. Sorry, I’m not buying that. That is too unbelievable for me.
Yes, he might have felt he wanted to be a father in the beginning, but perhaps his desire to do that waned towards the end of the book – I’d believe that. But not this. Now I’m not saying people like Joseph don’t exist, but we as the reader do not know enough about Joseph’s backstory to let us believe his needs enough. This comes back to wanting more detail in the book or for it to be longer.
There were also too many perfect ‘good’ characters and overly cliché ‘bad’ characters throughout the book. It just broke all connectivity for me. I couldn’t connect with anything going on. That, coupled with the foreshadowing that was as subtle as a brick to the back of the head made for a fairly bland read and I’m glad it was quick.
The ending was massively disappointing too. Not everything needs to be ‘happy’ or idyllic. It just seems cheap.
I really wish this was aimed at an older audience so that the author could explore themes and characters more (plus there’s a fairly disturbing and haunting dog death scene in the book that I’m not sure suitable for the intended reader age). I just think it would have made a much better book. Gorgeous cover though.
“I cried about that yellow dog every night for I don’t know how long.”
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.