I'm the author of the ASHFALL three-and-a-half-ology: ASHFALL, ASHEN WINTER, SUNRISE, and DARLA'S STORY.
I'm a huge Gary Schmidt fanboy--I've read literally every novel he's published. Lizzie Bright and The Wednesday Wars each earned a spot on my all-time-favorite books list; Schmidt is one of only two or three authors to have two books on that select list. For my money, he's the best writer working in kidlit today who hasn't won a Newbery.
So to say I was anticipating Orbiting Jupiter is a gross understatement. I scored an advanced reading copy (ARC) from my dealer--thanks Mom! (She owns Kids Ink Children's Bookstore. They get ARCs of everything.)
It did not disappoint. I think I just read the Newbery winner. I hope I just read the Newbery winner. Please, God, let this be the Newbery winner. It's that good. Simple and spare and elegiac with not a word wasted or misplaced. And Schmidt is due. Past due.
The book asks the question whether Joseph's love for Madeline and their baby, Jupiter, conquer his age, fourteen. And answers it: not really. But the struggle is so beautiful and moving that I found myself choking back tears throughout most of the back half of the book.
MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD
Despite that quibble, Orbiting Jupiter is a brilliant book, and absolutely worthy of your reading time. It releases on October 16th, 2015.