Finding Jupiter

Crown. May 2022. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593429259.
Gr 9 Up–This is young adult summer romance at its best: lots of flirting, inner monologues of “do I like him/her?” as well as lying on a blanket looking at the stars, passionate kisses, tragic pasts that need to be reconciled, consummation, and a twist that only the most astute readers will see coming. Ray, who is Black, has one other friend of color at her all-white boarding school. She’s home for the summer before her senior year, making found poetry art from discarded library books. Orion, also Black, is headed to Howard in the fall on an academic and athletic scholarship. He’s an award-winning swimmer who always lives up to his dad’s high expectations. Ray and Orion meet at the roller rink, and even though he is awkward around girls, and she thinks love means risking loss, they have an undeniable attraction, which is encouraged by their more confident best friends. Can their love survive a tragedy that unexpectedly links their families and their parents’ secrets? Ray’s found poetry punctuates the descriptive and enchanting prose. Pages of real novels with the poem’s words circled demonstrate Ray’s authenticity as a poet. Alternating chapters from Ray’s and Orion’s points of view reveal the theme that art can be self-care for Black kids, according to the author’s note. With plot laid thick at first, this novel starts slowly but gains momentum with the evolution of the relationship, and the twist at the end will keep pages turning until the satisfying conclusion.
VERDICT This one’s a keeper. Purchase where romance is popular.

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