Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

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Orbiting Jupiter

Gary D. Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor winner, tells the terrific, gut-punching story of a 14-year-old boy who is the father of a child he's never seen, a baby named Jupiter.

When teenager Joseph Brook is delivered by the State of Maine to the Hurds' farm, the social worker warns them that he won't be touched, won't eat canned peaches and, by the way, has a baby somewhere. But 12-year-old Jack Hurd knows Joseph is an okay guy when the family cow, Rosie, takes a liking to him. Orbiting Jupiter grabs readers by the collar right away, with Jack's direct, plainspoken voice that bursts with heart.

Joseph, withdrawn at first, warms up to the family in time, but his past haunts him. He often cries out the name of his true love and baby's mother, Maddie, and one moonlit night, sitting around the fire with Jack and his parents, Joseph says, "I have to see Jupiter. Will you help me?" To the bitter end, the Hurds remain as comfortingly steadfast and true as "the smell of hay and old wood and leather and cow" of their barn. Love doesn't conquer all in this spare, masterful novel, but it's a force to be reckoned with. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness