Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

Title: Chasing Jupiter
Author: Rachel Coker
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Zondervan
Publish Date: December 26, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From "Scarlett Blaine's life in 1960s Georgia isn't always easy, especially given her parents' financial struggles and the fights surrounding her sister Juli's hippie lifestyle. Then there's her brother, Cliff. While Scarlett loves him more than anything, there's no denying his unique behavior leaves Cliff misunderstood and left out. So when he wishes for a rocket to Jupiter, Scarlett agrees to make it happen, no matter how crazy the idea might be. Raising the rocket money means baking pies, and the farmer's son, Frank, agrees to provide the peaches if Scarlett will help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett really enjoys her time with Frank, and finds herself wondering if, someday, they could be more than friends. Just as she thinks everything might be going her way, Cliff suffers an accident that not only affects the rocket plans, but shakes Scarlett's view of God. As the summer comes to an end, Scarlett must find a way to regain what she's lost, but also fulfill a promise to launch her brother's dream."

My Two Cents:

"Chasing Jupiter" is the story of Scarlett, who lives in 1960s Georgia. It is a coming of age story. She loves her little brother, Cliff, who is not fully understood in the world that he lives in (he is somewhere on the autism spectrum more than likely and no one really knows what's going on with him and therefore, he is not always treated well by others). You have to hand it to Scarlett; when Cliff decides that he wants a rocket, Scarlett believes that she can do something in order to make all of his dreams come true. Add to it that Scarlett's family seems to be falling apart at the seams due to Scarlett's older sister, Juli, being troubled and running away from home but the story really focuses more on the relationship between Cliff and Scarlett. I love stories about siblings and family relationships so from this aspect and I liked reading about the relationship between Scarlett and Cliff.

One very cool thing about this book is that the author is a high school student. Coker is a very promising writer. The writing is fairly strong although there were definitely some places where I wanted a little bit more detail in order to understand more about the motivation of various characters in the book. Some parts of the book could stand some editing.

This book is not billed as a Christian book but some of the characters, especially the preacher's young wife that Scarlett helps in the book get very preachy. I was not expecting this and the preachy-ness was just not really to my taste. Some of it really did not fit with the rest of the book and seemed a little bit outside the context of the rest of the book.



  1. I have been seeing quite a few coming of age books recently. Sounds like an interesting one.

    1. I will be interested to see what the author comes out with in the future!

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