This was a short novel, bordering on novella. I don’t know where it was recommended to me but I know that any book with a cover in winter is almost certainly going to be sad so I was at least somewhat prepared.
The book is from the perspective of a young boy, Jack, whose family brings in a foster kid, Joseph. Joseph is 14 and was placed in foster care after a violent and drug induced incident with a teacher. Joseph also has daughter, Jupiter. The story follows as Joseph integrates in with his new foster brother, his new family and faces the prejudices of those around him.
This book works as an emotional gut punch. The writing is well done, the use of repetitive motifs and phrases builds on itself and creates a lot of attachment to characters rather quickly. Jack’s keeping track of Joseph’s almost smiles until there are real smiles in particular. The book felt perfectly made to make you cry.
For once, this is a book involving the foster system that actually shows it working. The tragedy is not in the foster family but all the circumstances that got him there and the treatment of those from the system. It analyzes the assumptions that often surround kids and how that affects how other’s see their entire future potential. Joseph was placed in a box and without the help of a very few select people, he would have been stuck there entirely. Many are not so lucky to have any support.
I have a hard time with books that are just made for sadness sake so this remains a four star read for me. Since it was well written and effective but not necessarily enjoyable.
I listened to the audiobook through the library narrated by Christopher Gebauer who did a great job. I would recommend this as an audiobook.