Friday, November 13, 2015

Book Review: Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

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Description: 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.

I loved Coker’s first book so much that I went out and paid full price for her second book when it came out. For those of you who don’t know me, this never happens. I normally wait until the price comes down or until I can get it to review. I just don’t have the money to buy books new and fresh off the press. So, as you can tell, I was very excited about the book.

Since I was in the middle of a project when I got the book, I let my younger sister read it first, since she was also a Coker fan. She finished it and said she was disappointed with the book. So, I put off reading the book. When I finally got around to reading it, I went in with low expectations.

Scarlett was just a hard character to connect with; in fact I didn’t until I was about 60% done. After an accident and Scarlet is wondering if her loved one will live or die, I finally found my connection, as I had been through some of the same emotions with one of my siblings. While Scarlett was a well-developed character and well written, most of the time she just seemed distant from the reader.

Coker’s writing was superb in her last book, but it was even better in this one. Her style and way with words is nothing short of being brilliant. I am sure that, with her talent, she will go far in her writing career.

The supporting cast of this book was excellent. Frank was my favorite, the kind animal lover who wants to help Scarlett and Cliff have a wonderful summer. Cliff, a boy who obviously has some sort of mental handicap like down-syndrome, tugged at my heart strings. Her Grandfather made me sad as I thought of the wonderful elderly people I have known that have had dementia. Juli was the wild child, but she was still likable.

My favorite part of this book was Scarlett’s talks with the pastor’s wife as she tried to figure out what the purpose of life and hardships are. I felt that Coker did a great job at answering these tough questions, and give real hope, not syrupy answers.

Over all, I recommend this book to those who like historical fiction, great storytelling, and coming-of-age stories.

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