“Chasing Jupiter” by Rachel Coker
4 out of 5 stars for writing quality.
4 out of 5 stars for character quality.
3 out of 5 stars for how much I liked it.
Scarlett Blaine’s life in the late 1960’s isn’t as easy as you might think. Underneath the Blaine’s’ wholesome all American family image lay troubles that no one would have ever guessed. Scarlett loves her family, but it doesn’t mean living this life is easy; with her sister gallivanting off whenever she wants in search of another “experience”, and Cliff, her younger brother, being a little unusual himself (but aren’t we all?), life is really messy and complicated. Those are just a few of life’s complications and they don’t even include her parents financial woes and their constant arguing. Don’t get Scarlett wrong, she loves her family, but she has to deal with a lot more junk than your average seventeen year-old. And with her free-loving hippie-ish sister gone most of the time and both of her parents working long hours, Scarlett is left to take care of Cliff, their grandpa and herself. A break would be nice, but time stops for no one and so Scarlett has to keep going, no matter how hard that may be for her.
But life isn’t all work and no play and when Cliff makes a birthday wish, Scarlett is determined to make it come true. Cliff, however, is making that a little harder than expected when his request is revealed: he wants to make a rocket so he can travel to Jupiter. In the day and age of Neil Armstrong being the first man on the moon, Cliff is hopeful it will all work out, but there is going to be a lot of hard work involved if he is to make it to Jupiter.
After finding out that they need a LOT more money than they have to build their spacecraft, Scarlett decides to make peach pies all summer long and sell them to earn enough money. But that means being nice to Frank, a boy who never noticed nor cared to be nice to Scarlett before, and asking him if he would make a trade for something of her’s in exchange for the peaches she needs. Lucky for Scarlett, she doesn’t have to make too much of a trade because all Frank wants in return is to be around Scarlett’s sister. But just as things are looking up for Scarlett, an accident happens and Cliff is the one hurt. Can God help her make it through all of this, if He’s even out there, and why would He let something like this happen? And why did it have to be Cliff? Can Scarlett learn to trust God and let go of what she can’t control, or will she clutch her world so tight that it crumples into pieces?
Before I start my actual review, I just want to thank Charleen and Zondervan Publishing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
“Chasing Jupiter” by Rachel Coker was a very well written Christian Young Adult book, and I enjoyed reading it. One of the things I liked so much about this book was the era; it was interesting to read about a time I hadn’t grow up in but my parents had. The culture and mindset were very different back then than it is now, but it wasn’t completely foreign to me because I had heard a lot of stories from my parents about their childhoods’. It made that time period come alive a bit more for me, and I really enjoyed that aspect about the book.
Another good thing about “Chasing Jupiter” was the main character, Scarlett. I thought it was sad that she basically had to raise herself and her little brother because her parents were gone so much, and then to have the added burden of taking care of a sick relative just makes the job all the more difficult. Back in the 60’s and 70’s the knowledge of health foods and different techniques to help others get better was very minimal and not widely spread. That was sort of the age where they had begun to discover such things instead of already having pocketed that knowledge for use; it was very sad to see her grandpa being so sick and her little brother’s injury go relatively untreated. I mean, you can only do so much for a person with memory loss or dementia/Alzheimer’s, but there are things that can help these days. All of that made Scarlett and her troubles seem very real.
There are quite a few characters that are good in this book but I really liked Cliff, Scarlett’s brother. He was such a sweetheart and he was so adorable. Frank was also another good character, and his and Scarlett’s relation ship was cute. I think my only problem with this book was what happened to Cliff. I won’t tell you how it ends, just that it made me sad. Call me a sucker for a perfectly cheesy happy ending if you want, because that’s what I wanted here. I absolutely know God is good and faithful no matter what, but it still made me sad and I wish there had been a tiny bit happier ending to this story. But other than that, it was a well written and enjoyable book. Very well done!