I Have a Friend on Jupiter
By Celine Rose Mariotti
Published by Dreaming Big Publications
Reviewed by Amy Owings
ABOUT THE BOOK
Carlos and Indiana find a website that promises to find them pen pals from outer space. Imagine their surprise and excitement when they are paired with Mannie and Kossie, two children from Jupiter! The two pairs of pen pals are excited to learn about each other and their planets, and are even more excited to learn they may be able to visit! Will the other Earthlings be as open to a visit from aliens from Jupiter, though?
Genre: Middle-Grade / Fantasy
MY REVIEW - Amy
4 out of 5 stars
I loved the plot of this book and how it effortlessly combined educational facts about Jupiter with a fun tale of friendship. The story is whimsical and engaging and makes for a great middle-grade read. Carlos and Indiana are intelligent and compassionate protagonists who certainly serve as positive role models for a young audience, and their adventures with their intergalactic pen pals are very entertaining.
MY REVIEW - Aaron
A charming concept. The prose gets the job done, but is never particularly compelling or inspired. Description is lightweight and clear, but often states the obvious, the already explained, or makes rather unenlightening descriptions such as “pretty eyes” or “pretty flowers.” Attempts to insert educational facts often feel artificial and forced. The whole fifth chapter is a stilted info dump that feels like it was lifted directly from kidsastronomy.com.
The characters receive little in the way of development, and dialog often seems to exist merely as a vehicle for exposition. The protagonists Carlos and Indiana are caricatures of well-behaved children, and seem mentally closer to 7 or 8 than their supposed age of 12 (particularly Indiana who is supposed to be quite intelligent and advanced for her age).
The relationship between the protagonists is very sweet (if a little bit too saccharine at times to be believable) and the little details about their likes, dislikes, past friendships, and family life are all quite compelling and authentic. The descriptions of Carlos’ grandmother, singing him Spanish songs at night, or his Uncle making him puppets to play with were both quite poignant, as were Indiana’s subtle frustrations at being the third daughter in a struggling father-less household.
The book advertises itself as a “Young Adult Fantasy Novel,” but I think it should perhaps be rebranded as a children’s book. The prose seems to be pitched intentionally low, the plot itself is rather carelessly whimsical, and the protagonists themselves pursue knowledge and adventure with a naiveté that seems distinctly childish.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Celine Rose Mariotti was born in Derby, CT and has lived in Shelton, CT all her life. She has liked to write since she was a child. Celine's first book was "Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You?" Her latest book is "Minister's Shoes." Celine loves to write mysteries and science fiction stories.
I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing a review. I was not obligated to give a positive review, and all thoughts are my own.