Why I Love “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Often, I’ll say I like a book because of the characters, or the plot, or the tone, or all three of the above. Sometimes, there is an extra special book that has more to it than characters, plot, and tone. To Kill A Mockingbird was a very influential book to me. It had characters, it had tone, and most importantly, it shows readers the importance of fighting for what is right.

Boo Radley and Judgment

Harper Lee’s book opens one hot, Southern summer.  A new boy, whose nickname is Dill, has moved to town. Scout and her older brother, Jem, spend the summer playing with Dill. The trio’s favorite game is to play “Boo Radley.”

Boo Radley  lives is the house across from Scout and Jem’s, and has never been seen by the townsfolk.  Scout, Jem, and Dill make up terrible stories about Boo.  They have a game of sneaking up as close as they dared go to the house, then running away.

Soon the children start finding gifts of gum and candy in a hollow tree, put there by Boo Radley for them.  Slowly, Scout realizes that perhaps Boo Radley is not a terrifying lunatic, but rather a nice old man.  This experience with Mr. Radley will influence Scout later in the book and in her life.

I love the lesson Scout learns here. She thinks she is stupid, but her father, Atticus Finch, tells her that “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”[1] She begins to understand this when she realizes that Boo Radley, the eccentric man that the children of the town fear greatly, is actually a shy, kind man.

Justice and Injustice

Soon the children at school start mocking Scout and Jem about their “nigger-loving” father.  They tell Scout and Jem that Atticus took on a case to defend a black man, and ridicule the two because of it.  Atticus informs the children that it is true; he did take on the case, and asks them to endure the taunts of their friends.

Scout and Jem want to know more about the case, so they sneak into the trial to witness something that will change their lives.  Tom Robinson has been accused of raping a white woman named Mayella.  

Atticus has a brilliant defense and Tom a believable story, while Mayella Ewell and her father have a farfetched story that doesn’t seem to be true.  Despite all appearances, the all-white jury convicts Tom of the offense, a capital offense in 20th century Alabama.  

This part of the book is one of my favorites because it is here that Atticus shows Scout and Jem how to fight for justice, even if they know they will lose. She asks Atticus why he would defend Tom when he knew he would lose.  Atticus tells Scout that true bravery is just that: fighting for the right thing even if it seems hopeless.

Finally, I love this book because Scout learns that the world is unfair and figures out how to deal with it.  Tom Robinson shouldn’t have been ruled guilty.  Boo Radley shouldn’t have had such a hard life or been ridiculed by her and the other children.  Bob Ewell, the father of the white woman that accused Tom, should not have carried a grudge against her father.  She learns that the world is unfair, and the only thing she can do about it is to love.

[1] Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (HarperPerennial, New York), p. 33.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read To Kill A Mockingbird? What did you think? Who was your favorite character?


Part Two: Books We Dis/like/agree On

This is Part Two of a collab post series with Sarah from Sarah’s Fantastical Bookshelves. Part One was books we both liked, sometimes for the same reasons and sometimes for different ones. Looking through our ‘read’ lists on Goodreads, it was a little bit shocking to see how similar our tastes in literature are, but there were still a few books we disagreed on. In Part Two, you get to read about the books we disliked and disagreed on.

The Selection

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

Sarah’s rating: 2 stars

Sarah’s opinion: I actually didn’t prefer the premise of this book. It was honestly just a bunch of ladies sabotaging each other and trying to get the attention of a prince. If I’m going to read a book in the romance genre, I want it to be about true love, and in this book, it seemed too fake and the dialogue was forced. Of course there was a love triangle (like any generic YA book), and the main character COULD NOT decide who she wanted to be with, which resulted in her confusion as to whom she truly loved (which is not true love folks). I will say that I loved the main character’s family. All of the scenes with her family made me feel warm and fuzzy. Part of me wishes the whole book could have just been about them.

Grace’s rating: 2 stars

Grace’s opinion: I can see why people would like it. It has an interesting dystopian setting, and the premise is fascinating- it reminds me of the Book of Esther, actually. It’s really dramatic.  

Because so many people were raving about it, and it didn’t sound bad, I picked it up and forced my way through it, then wished I hadn’t.

It’s a formulaic love triangle romance. The dialogue sounded stilted and unnatural to me. I felt lost while I read it because I didn’t know where or when I was exactly. I found the characters annoying, and the main character, America Singer, came of as sort of whiny and overdramatic. I give this book 2 stars.

Black Beauty

Black Beauty

Sarah’s rating: 3 stars (it would have been two but I’m feeling generous

Sarah’s opinion: I really liked that this book was written from the perspective of a horse as it went through its life. Honestly, he was a really lovable character, and there were some especially sad parts that made me want to hug him and buy him and UGH I need a horse now. I had a few issues with Black Beauty, like the fact that it was SO SAD. It was too sad for me to handle. I’m okay with sad books every once in a while, but just don’t do it through the poor innocent eyes of an animal. I couldn’t handle it. However, I can see why this book has been loved and appreciated for so long. It’s a lovely little story with an amazing main character.

Grace’s rating: 4 stars

Grace’s opinion: I thought this book was really cute. It was the story of a horse’s life, from birth to old age. It’s really a sort of old-fashioned book, but I was able to enjoy the story and the characters. This is one book where watching the movie before or after really brought the story to life, and didn’t just ruin your idea of the story.


Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Sarah’s rating: DNF

Sarah’s opinion: I love science fiction, fantasy, and ADORE Cinderella. So obviously, I thought I was going to love this book with my whole heart. Sadly, I found it to be sort of bland. I usually prefer books that are fast-paced, and a lot of people agree that this one starts out sort of slow. One thing I did like about the book was the characters. I thought they had good backgrounds and they were well-thought-out and creative. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the patience to get through this one, but maybe I’ll come back to it sometime in the future.

Grace’s rating: 4 stars

Grace’s opinion: I actually really liked this book. I didn’t expect to, after my experience with The Selection, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The setting is fascinating. It’s set in a dystopian New Asia, where technology is everywhere, there’s a sort of Cold War going on with the people on the moon, there’s spaceships, and a prince is about to have a big ball.

I loved the characters. Iko the android was so cute, and I didn’t find Cinder to be a cliched YA fairy tale heroine. The plot was fast-paced and interesting, although it started slowly, and the stakes were high.

Am I the only one who thinks the cover’s a little bit creepy?

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

Sarah’s rating: 4 stars

Sarah’s opinion: As a reader, the description of this book truly scared me. Burning books?! This was a very scary glimpse into the future, with people constantly using technology, books not allowed, and super long billboards (read it to find out what I’m talking about). I think the ending was also a bit abrupt? I expected this book to be longer, or maybe get a bit more closure at the end? Possibly the author wanted to end it this way, to make his point. Hopefully this is not what the future holds in store for us, but I’m glad we have this book to prevent it from happening.

Grace’s rating: 3 stars

Grace’s opinion: The writing in this book was amazing. The tone perfectly matched the subject matter, and the structure of the book awed me. The author portrayed the characters as flawed, struggling people. The messages are relevant and chillingly reflect the world we live in today.

That said, I’m torn about this book. For me, it’s a hard book to read. Characters are an important element of a book for me as a reader, and I didn’t really like the characters in Fahrenheit 451, nor do I think I was supposed  to. Reading about characters so hopeless and self-centered is difficult.

Take, for example, Captain Beatty. He, at one point, loved books- and arguably, people. He studied them, cared about them, got to know them really well. He knows books and people well, and uses his knowledge of books and his knowledge of people to confuse and manipulate Guy Montag. And Mildred Montag is completely hopeless, and doesn’t even seem to remember her life. Guy himself has times of compassion, and times of reckless confusion and rage.

For those reasons, this was a hard book to read, but I still liked it. I thought the writing showed definite mastery and talent, for certain.

Let’s Chat!

What did you think of this collab? What are some books that disappointed you?

Review of Bridgers: A Parable

Bridgers: A Parable

Title: Bridgers: A Parable
Author: Angie Thompson
Publisher: Quiet Waters Press
Released: November 21, 2017


Peyton is a boy with a bright future. He attends church, says the right things, and is even reaching his dream of becoming a preacher.

Davonte comes from the wrong side of town. He’s not necessarily a bad kid, and just wants to be left alone, but in school and in town he can tell that people have some opinions about him.

Levi’s the pastor’s son. He knows what he is supposed to do, but he’s shy and nervous, and struggles to stay committed to his faith when pressures arise.

These boys all have the same choice to make, and only one of them steps past expectations and stigmas in order to truly help another in need. The choices they make will influence their entire community.


This book blew me away. To be honest, I skimmed the description and picked it for the cover. It was as much and more than I was expecting. Angie’s characters are amazing, and it’s impossible not to relate to the characters and feel invested in them and their storyline.

Bridgers is based off the story of The Good Samaritan, and it’s one of the best retellings I’ve ever read. It is a powerful story in itself, and also makes the story it’s based on come to life in a new way.

When we hear the words “good Samaritan,” we think “nice person.” We don’t think about the stigmas and expectations that the real Samaritan had to be brave and caring enough to overcome. We don’t think about how caring for another person could have disrupted their life. Bridgers really shows what caring about other people enough to do something about it when they’re hurting might look like in a modern setting we recognize.

The writing style in this book was very unique, and I really enjoyed it. The POV switches are unusual in that it switches from third person for Peyton and Levi to first person for Davonte. I’d never seen that before, but I think it worked very well to distinguish the characters and their perspectives and also make the book very personal for one of them.

The dialogue was spot-on, and I love a book with good, natural dialogue. The book shows and doesn’t tell, which can be a very hard thing to do, even for well-established authors and writers.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Stellae Books. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

Overall, Bridgers impressed me very much and is going on my list of favorites. I contacted the author and asked if she’d be interested in answering a few questions for a short interview which you can read here.

If You Like

If you like books such as Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, or You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins, you will probably enjoy Bridgers: A Parable. 

Let’s Chat!

Have you read many indie-published books? What are your thoughts on books with multiple points of view?

ARC Review: Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill

Within These Lines

Title: Within These Lines
Author: Stephanie Morrill
Publisher: Blink
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

About The Author

Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. To learn more, see my interview with her.


Evalina Cassano lives happily with her family in San Francisco until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Taichi and his family are forced to move to the Manzanar internment camp.

Evalina feels she must help Taichi and speaks out more and more against the racism and Japanese internment at home and school.  When Japanese-Americans begin taking sides within the Manzanar camp, Taichi is caught in between and begins to doubt he and his family will stay safe and leave the camp alive. Evalina and Taichi must find a way to stand strong and make it back to each other.


Evalina is an articulate, tenacious girl, much like Piper from the author’s last book. She is angry and confused at the injustice done to her friends and neighbors. She sees the people behind the politics, and is brave enough to speak about what she believes.

Taichi didn’t captivate me at first. For the first third or half of the book, he felt like a sort of bland character. However, later in the book, he really began to develop as a character. He cared about his family and about Evalina, and having his perspective made the book much more real and poignant.

I particularly appreciated the family relationships that were highlighted in this book. Taichi obviously cares very much about his family, and reading about his interactions with his sister was quite enjoyable. Evalina had a little bit more tension in her family relationships. She wasn’t sure if her Italian-American parents would approve of her relationship with Taichi, and tried to keep it a secret.

Stephanie Morrill did a wonderful job writing the point of view switches between Evalina and Taichi. Both had a unique voice and perspective, and tied together very well. I love reading books where the characters have different voices and unique backgrounds, but the overall tone and voice of the book is still regular.

The time period this book was set in, World War II, was a very turbulent and tense time. Within These Lines addresses difficult issues of injustice, racism, and internment camps in a sensitive yet honest way. 

Overall, this book had beautiful writing, well-developed characters, a wonderful ending, and deftly handles some difficult topics. I’m not going to give away spoilers, but I will say that towards the finish both Evalina and Taichi had a lot at stake, and the ending was satisfying but a little bit surprising. Within These Lines is written for young adult readers, but I think this book will also appeal to adult readers that enjoy historical fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of Within These Lines for review from Blink through Netgalley. This did not impact my review in any way and all opinions expressed are my own.

If You Like

I would recommend this book to fans of Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith, and Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read The Lost Girl of Astor Street? Are you planning on reading Within These Lines? What are your thoughts on WWII fiction?

Review: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Title: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Author: Andrew Peterson


Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby have the secret of the lost legend and jewels of King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera. The wicked Fangs of Dang have crossed the Dark Sea of Darkness and taken over Anniera, and the children, along with their dog Nugget, must escape their pursuit and brave horned hounds, the Black Carriage, Glipwood Forest, Peet the Sock Man, and the terrible toothy cows.


On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness tells a well-paced story full of character and courage. It has enough character uniqueness and development to satisfy those who love character-driven stories, and an intriguing and fast-paced plot to satisfy those who read a book for the plot.

This story is filled with outlandish names, an unusual world, and funny footnotes that serve to both entertain and explain Anniera and its customs.  We are thrown right into the world of Anniera, which can be disorienting, but the quirky writing style and well-used description make the world feel real and important.

I appreciated that despite the light tone and fast-paced plot, the characters’ struggles feel important and real. Janner, Tink, and Leeli all have unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Their grandfather is a wise and quirky ex-pirate. Their mother is a loving, strong, and hard-working woman.

I also particularly liked the rich and authentic family relationships in this book. Often in teen and middle grade fiction, families are dysfunctional, not present, or treated as trivial and annoying. In On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, we see how even through their struggles and perils, the Igibys love each other and lean on each other.

This story has many layers. The fear and suffering of the people in Anniera. The struggle of good versus evil. The realization that you can’t judge a person by how they look.  The struggle to fight for what is right when most prefer to turn a blind eye on the injustice.

If You Like

If you liked the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini, the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, the Hobbit series by J. R. R. Tolkien, or the Green Ember series by S. D. Smith, you will probably enjoy this book.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness? What did you think? Have you noticed that lack of healthy family relationships in teen and middle grade fiction?

ARC Review: Papergirl by Melinda McCracken

Title: Papergirl

Author: Melinda McCracken

Publisher: Fernwood Publishing

Release date: April 1, 2019

Rating: 3.5/5 stars


Cassie lives with her family in war- and- Influenza ravaged Winnipeg. The city’s workers are angry with the rising prices and low wages. When they being a general strike, Cassie decides she wants to help. She begins volunteering as a papergirl selling the strike bulletin, and as she sells papers every day and struggles with bullies, hunger, and the violence that the strike entails.


Papergirl will interest readers who enjoy character-driven books that address issues and historical settings. It would be a wonderful classroom read, as it incorporates history into the story and tactfully yet honestly addresses the issues that lead to the strike and the impacts of the strike.

Cassie reminded me of Nisha from The Night Diary. She is a young girl without much firsthand knowledge of how harsh the world can be, with a sense of justice. As she watches the strike go on, she learns more about the world, the people in it, and how to fight injustice.

This book has an old-fashioned tone that is sometimes dry and is less engaging and conversational than many YA books are.  It has descriptions of the food, the setting, and the characters, that while it does enrich the book, may not suit those searching for a fast-paced adventure. It is character-driven and spends a lot of time exploring the characters, how they react to hardship, how they interact with their world, and how they are changed by the events of the book.

Papergirl is being marketed as young adult fiction. However, I think this book would appeal much more to a middle grade audience. Cassie, the main character, is ten years old, and does sound and think like a young person.  The violence is minimal and shown through Cassie’s sense of right and justice, and the book is written in a fairly simple way.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Fernwood Publishing through Netgalley. This did not impact my review in any way, and all opinions expressed are my own.

If You Like

If you liked Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani, Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton, you might enjoy Papergirl, which releases April 1, 2019.

Let’s Chat!

Do you like historical fiction? Are you going to read Papergirl? Have you ever read a book that was sold as young adult but really should have been middle grade?

ARC Review: Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
Publisher: North Star Editions
Rating: 4/5 stars
Release date: February 12, 2019


In Cogheart, Lily is pulled out of school when her father goes missing, and the clockwork fox Malkin brings the news that her father was working on a priceless invention that could change the world. With the help of Robert, a clockmaker’s son, she embarks on an adventure to discover her father’s secrets. Full of robotic servants, dirigibles, plenty of clicks and clacks, and villainous mirror-eyed men that seem to be following Lily, this book is a delightful adventure for children.


The first third of this book starts out fairly slowly. It introduces the Victorian steampunk world and sets up the story, but for young readers, it might take a little bit of encouragement to push through the first few chapters until they reach the action. After those first few chapters, this is a fast paced and action-filled story that will certainly appeal to young readers.

It’s so much fun to read about Lily and Robert working together. They go through a lot throughout the story, yet stay loyal to each other and come out the better for it.

However, while the world is new and exciting, the characters and their relationships are, while fun for a light read, nothing new. A girl is in a boarding school, her dad goes missing, and she and her sidekicks have to fight off bad guys and solve a mystery. It works well for a middle grade adventure story, but there isn’t much depth to the characters or their relationships, and it’s been done before.

And then there is Malkin. Malkin was my very favorite part of this book. I want a cute and courageous clockwork fox now. He’s crucial to the plot, and adds a touch of charm to the story.

Other than Malkin, the steampunk world is what makes this adventure story something particularly worthwhile worthwhile and different. Cogheart is set in a Victorian England where everything that moves is clockwork and steam. There are mechanical servants, air-balloons, and mechanimals. Like Malkin.

I received a complimentary copy of Cogheart for review from North Star Editions through Netgalley. This did not impact my review in any way and all opinions expressed are my own.

If You Like

Overall, Cogheart was a fun children’s adventure story that picks up to a fast pace and includes unusual villains, a spunky heroine, and a magnificent mechanical fox.  It will appeal to fans of Escape from Mr. Lenoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, and Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.

Let’s Chat!

Are you going to read Cogheart? Do you like steampunk stories?

ARC Review: The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

The Warrior Maiden (Hagenheim, #9)

Title: The Warrior Maiden
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Rating: 4/5 star

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson is a retelling of the story of Mulan, a girl who disguised herself as a man to fight in the place of her father.


Mulan is an Asian girl who grew up in a Lithuanian town. When her father dies, she decides to take his place as a soldier so that the army does not confiscate her mother’s house. She changes her name to Mikolai, and joins in the fight against the Teutonic Knights.

Wolfgang is the son of the Duke of Hagenheim, and greatly desires to be a knight, but knows he will never reach that goal in Hagenheim. He joins the fight against the Teutonic Knights, expecting his brother Steffan will fight alongside him, but then learns his brother has joined the Teutonics and will be fighting against him.

My Review

This is an action-packed story with a traveling war setting. I thought it was an interesting shift from the rest of the Hagenheim series, which was mostly set in castles and towns. This series has tended to follow fairly similar storylines, but The Warrior Maiden had an interesting and fast-paced plot with some more unusual elements and a good sense of time and place.

Mulan was a very interesting character. Some YA books make it seem like a girl can’t be strong and feminine, but Melanie Dickerson does a very good job showing that Mulan is strong, and she is a woman. When I saw the cover, I thought this book might be set in Asia, but other than the main character’s race, the Asian influences in this book are minimal.  Mulan is of Mongolian descent and was adopted by Lithuanian characters, and the story is set in Europe.

Wolfgang, on the other hand, wasn’t much different from the male leads in the rest of the series. He realized Mulan wasn’t who he thought she was, came to terms with it, saved her life, and fell in love with her. He could have been with any of the other male characters from the Hagenheim series and I don’t think the book would have been much different. Other than some struggles with his brother that started to develop him uniquely as a character, I didn’t feel like there was much to Wolfgang.

Overall, this was an enjoyable fairy tale retelling, with Mulan as a wonderful and interesting main character and a fast-paced plot. The dialogue was somewhat stilted at times, and once or twice I was confused as to who said what, and Wolfgang was a rather bland character. However, getting to know Mulan as a character and enjoying the unique setting more than make up for those negatives. The Warrior Maiden is now my favorite book in the Hagenheim series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

If You Like

If you like any of Melanie Dickerson’s other books, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, or the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce, you will enjoy The Warrior Maiden, which releases February 5, 2019.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read any of Melanie Dickerson’s books? Are you going to read this book? What do you think about retellings?

Review: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Published by Thomas Nelson

Release date: May 7, 2019

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov. 


Anastasia Romanov has a mission. She must smuggle a spell into her suitcase on her way to Siberia. The leader of the Bolshevik army is hunting the Romanovs, and Anastasia has two options to save her family: release the spell or get Zash, the handsome and unusual Bolshevik, to help them.

Anatasia is frightened of magic, but even more frightened that she is beginning to like Zash. She thinks the feeling might be mutual. That is, until she’s on one side of the firing squad and he’s on the other.

Romanov is a story of love and a story of loss, a journey through a terrible and frightening time, full of hope and despair, anticipation and fear. The history of the Romanov family is fascinating, and this retelling of the story is fast-paced and magical.


Fairy tale retellings are common in young adult fiction. However, well-done and appealing retellings of historical events are much rarer. Nadine Brandes uses plentiful imagination, wonderful pacing, a touch of suspense, loveable characters, and well-spun atmosphere to make the story of the Romanovs come alive in a fresh, new way.

Romanov is a historical fantasy. It has magical elements, but it is set in a historical time period and represents customs and events from that time. It is not factually going to represent the Russian Revolution, and the world is more familiar and real than the new worlds from other fantasies.

The characters in Romanov are layered and complex. The bad aren’t always fully bad, and the good aren’t fully good. Anastasia has decisions that will shape her future and the future of her family and nation on her shoulders. Zash often seems torn between a desire to help and a desire to stay loyal to the Bolshevik army. The members of the Romanov family, although they don’t always get along perfectly, care about each other and support each other.

I don’t usually comment on the structure of a book. However, Nadine Brandes masterfully builds her story with realistic dialogue, well-placed description, a sense of time and place, and sentences and paragraphs that build on each other well. It is clear that the author has much talent for writing and storytelling.

I liked Romanov very much.  It was a well-built and touching story, with complex characters and a fresh and magical plot. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

If You Like

 If you liked books such as Cinder by Marissa Meyer, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, or Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, you will probably enjoy Romanov.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read any of Nadine Brandes’s books? Are you excited to read Romanov? Have you read many historical fantasies?

Book Review: Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

Title: Chasing Jupiter

Author: Rachel Coker

Publisher: Zondervan


Chasing Jupiter begins in the summer of 1969. Scarlett Blaine is sixteen, and lives in a small town in Georgia. Scarlett’s younger brother Cliff is often overlooked or misunderstood because of his autism, so when asks for a rocket, she is determined  to make his wish come true. She starts baking and selling pies to make money to build his rocket.

Although her summer starts out well, it quickly become busy and turbulent when her Grandpop Barley declines mentally, older sister Juli causes strain in the family, and Scarlett finds herself struggling between childhood and adulthood and struggling with family, love, and what her future should look like.


I first discovered Chasing Jupiter when I was doing research on young authors that got a reputable publisher. Rachel Coker wrote her first book, Interrupted, when she was 14, and it was published by Zondervan about a year later. Chasing Jupiter followed in 2012. It’s always fun to read books by talented young authors, and Chasing Jupiter did not disappoint.

I thought that Rachel Coker did a wonderful job providing emotional depth to the story. Although the plotting leaves something to be desired, the characters are well-developed and likeable. Overall, my favorite aspect of the story was how real it felt. It faced the fact that life isn’t perfect, and not every ending is happily-ever-after while achieving a satisfying yet plausible ending.

If You Like

If you like character-driven books with happy endings or books like Anne of Green Gables, Ella Enchanted, or American Street, you might enjoy Chasing Jupiter. 

Let’s Chat!

Have you read Chasing Jupiter? Have you come across other interesting books by young authors?