Chasing Jupiter, by Rachel Coker

When the world around you falls apart, dreams are all you have.

From Rachel’s Website:

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, is willing to provide the peaches if Scarlett can help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett has a crush on Frank, one that only increases. Just as she thinks things 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 Thoughts:

Rachel Coker never disappoints, does she?

She writes, she blogs, she dresses impeccably, and she’s amazing with a camera.  Oh, and I think she draws, too…

But this post isn’t about the amazing Rachel Coker.  It’s about Rachel Coker’s amazing book! Amazing is definitely the word for it.  Amazing, and heart-rending, and unexpected, and just wonderful.

The characters… oh, the characters!  Juli, the gorgeous, hippie older sister; Cliff, the sweet but wacky little brother; Grandpop Barley, who’s a few watts short of a lightbulb; Mama and Dad, who just want to keep the family cared for; and Scarlett Blaine, the sixteen-year-old who keeps them all together.  Also Frank.  Frank.  Oh, Frank.  Frank whose name I can’t stand but who completely, totally stole my heart.  Forget Sam.  Frank is mine.

At least until Rachel releases her next book.

I can’t say much about plot, because part of this book is the mystery going in.  (I can say that you won’t possibly see what’s coming, even when you’re certain you do.)  It’s about family, and dreams, and the changing times of the late 60’s and early 70’s.  It’s about love, and hope, and peace.  It’s about God giving you strength, not just fixing up your life.  It will make you laugh and sigh and blush and grin and shout… but most of all, it will make you sob.

There are great books, with grand paragraphs and striking symbolism that stand the test of time, even if they do bore or confuse some readers.  There are good books, that may have a few typos or be a bit too short or simplistically worded, but completely capture your heart and pull you in, never to let go.

Let me tell you, this is a good book.  Five stars.

I was provided a free copy of this book by a Zondervan publicist at DJC Communications in exchange for this review.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

~ Emily Rachelle

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Emily is an author of contemporary teen fiction, including Christian coming-of-age novella Sixteen. Find her every Tuesday and Thursday at her blog, Emily Rachelle Writes.

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