Chasing Jupiter is fantastic. I had a hard time putting it down. Author Rachel Coker is way too young to be turning out fiction of this caliber! The setting is beautiful, I felt like I'd stepped back in time to rural Georgia in the 60â€²s setting. My only complaint is that the writing is so beautiful it's almost heart-wrenching. I don't usually do very well with heart-wrenching, but the thread of hope that runs throughout this story made it worthwhile.
A thoughtful and evocative read, that takes you into Scarlett's world.
I fell in love with Ms. Coker's contemplative, easy flowing writing style, and the quirky characters that she brought to life.
The characters were all so different, and unique, yet each had a quality that I was captured by. Scarlett was a strong heroine, molded by the chaos around her, yet she and her brother, Cliff had a special bond, and I liked how much she cared for her brother and protected him.
In Chasing Jupiter I really did feel like I was inside Scarlett's head, asnd she saw things in a simple sort of way, with a certain weariness, yet love for her brother, and confusion with her sister, while Frank was pleasant surprise.
In conclusion, this book reminded me alot of the books I read when I was 10 (when my mom considered me too young to read Christian romance--even Janette Oke!) I always loved the depth of such books, balanced with quirky characters. I haven't seen a many new books like this in a while, because in my mind, Chasing Jupiter certainly has a special timeless quality about it, paired with a an inspiring message of finding God while everything seems to be falling down all around. A book that I would happily recommend! And I will definitely be reading Rachel Coker's future novels :)
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Nicely done Rachel! Although it was shorter than Interrupted, Chasing Jupiter was just as lovely and enjoyable as Rachel's first book. In my opinion this was a sweet book that really touched me. It's a story about a girl who will do anything to help her younger "misunderstood" (and at that time undiagnosed autistic) brother Cliff. Both of Rachel's book were well written for someone her age, which I don't mean in any negative way, really. She is young and in several parts slight flaws can be found, but really she is a great writer who is only getting better! The main flaw that I found in this book was that the epilogue was a bit rushed and felt it.
But moving past the slightly not so great to the great. I really enjoyed this book. You get a warm, yes Georgia southern feel to this book that my friend mentioned reminded her of the movie/book "The Help" Some scenes, like Scarlett visiting Ms. Greene did have a "Help" feel to them. One of my favorite scenes was with Ms.Greene...the hilarious chicken scene :D Another scene that was simply tragic, beautiful and poignant is when Scarlett and Frank finish the rocket and show Cliff. I was crying in that scene. Not only is this a wonderful story about family, it is also a love story, a southern story and one with a lighthearted character who is trying to figure out where she belongs and how she can make everything turn out right. Maybe it's the size of the book or the fact that it is set in the south, but I also got a Joan Bauer feel from this book (I've only read 3 of Ms.Bauer's books however). I would recommend to girls 12+ who are looking for a sweet southern story that might just make you cry.
Characters~I really liked Cliff he was sweet and cute. The things he said made me smile :) Scarlett was maybe a bit of everybody in her search for finding the right way. The one way she could make everything come together. I really liked how she came through for her family but still was shown crying and asking for help because of how she felt they were being torn apart. Frank was a good character, even though he should have realized some thing sooner...
When the world around you falls apart, dreams are all you have....
It's 1969 and the moon missions are all the rage and 16 year old Scarlett Blaine's life seems to be falling apart. Her parents are fighting about money and Juli's antics. Her older sister Juli, a hippie, is withdrawing from the family. Grandpop Barley is having problems with dementia. And her little brother Cliff is just not normal. Can life get any more difficult?
But when Cliff and Scarlett watch footage of the moon missions on television, Cliff decides he wants to be the first person to Jupiter. Scarlett determines that Cliff will get his dream and promises to build the rocket to Jupiter. But dreams take money and that is the one thing they don't have.
With the help of Frank Leggett they start making money selling peach pies. Frank's father owns a peach orchard and agrees to supply Scarlett with peaches which she bakes into pies. Frank, with help from Cliff, builds the stand that Scarlett and Cliff use to sell their pies on Saturdays.
On Fridays, after being volunteered by her mother, Scarlett is helping Mrs. Greene cook meals. But in the process she makes a friend who is willing to help her navigate some of the questions that life is throwing at her. The biggest question in Scarlett's life is how to have peace in her life. But Mrs. Greene's answer isn't exactly what Scarlett is looking for.
As Scarlett, Cliff and Frank spend time together they become friends. Scarlett and Frank learn that they are both more than they have appeared to others over the years. Frank is smart and caring and Scarlett is humorous and dedicated to her brother. Frank has a crush on Juli, which hurts Scarlett because she knows that Juli doesn't even know who Frank is and she has developed feelings for this young man who become her friend over the summer.
But when a series of events changes her family forever Scarlett is left to deal with the new reality and her feelings of guilt. Could she have done something different so that tragedy could have been averted? Will the promised rocket to Jupiter ever be built? With her life in turmoil Scarlett finds herself seeking the peace that Mrs. Greene told her about, the peace that will change her from the inside out.
I enjoyed Chasing Jupiter, but when I read the line "Call 911" I had to take a pause. I didn't know the 911 system was in use in 1969. So I had an interesting time doing research on the history of the 911 emergency call system because of this book.
But back to Chasing Jupiter the characters make you care about them. You identify with their hurts and joys. You feel the guilt that they feel when an accident that could have been prevented wasn't. Don't miss out on this offering from Rachel Coker.
I received a copy of this title from the publisher Zovndervan for the purpose of this review, a favorable review was not a requirement.
Author has a gift for creating endearing character
March 10, 2013
Scarlett's family is a little out-of-the-ordinary. Her dad is obsessed with politics, her mom is always working, her older sister is becoming a hippie, and both her little brother and her grandfather have special needs. Scarlett is the one trying to hold it all together. The summer starts out with her little brother Cliff's wish to build a rocket so that he can be the first astronaut to travel to Jupiter. So Scarlett and the cute neighbor boy, Frank, make a peach pie stand and start selling pies to make money for the rocket. But things don't always go as planned in life, and when Scarlett's life starts to crumble around her, she has to find her own way.
This was a sweet book. It takes place in 1960s Georgia. I fell in love with the characters from the start. Rachel Coker has a gift for creating the most endearing people to read about: Scarlett with her big heart, Cliff with his big dreams, and Grandpop Barley with his red necktie and addiction to peanut butter. The story sucked me in from the start. I loved Scarlett and wanted to see her and Cliff make that rocket! I also thought it was great fun to see Scarlet and Cliff watching the first men on the moon.
A few things distanced me from the action. Several important events were told after they happened. Once, a side character died, and it was mentioned after the fact, like it was no big deal. But someone like Scarlett would have made sure to be there for her loved one--to make sure he got to attend the funeral. And later, the fact that Frank had come to the hospital and the fact that he'd chosen a college and moved away ... these things were mentioned after they happened, nonchalantly, which felt like mistakes in the story. These scenes would have been so much more powerful told in the action of the story.
Don't get me wrong. I still liked the story very much, and I cried! My heart broke for Scarlett and her family. This is an entertaining and powerful book. Rachel has a gift for telling good stories. I know we'll see many more of them in the future. If you haven't read Rachel's books before, be sure and check them out!
*I received this book free for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.