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, agrees to provide the peaches if Scarlett will help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett really enjoys her time with Frank, and finds herself wondering if, someday, they could be more than friends. Just as she thinks everything 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.
I loved this book! I thought it was really good. 16 year old Scarlett Blaine is the glue that holds her (somewhat dysfunctional) family together. Her mother and father barely make enough to put bread on the table, her older sister, Juli, is a hippie, her little brother, Cliff, has a mental issue, and her grandfather also has a mental illness and an obsession with peanutbutter. When Scarlett makes a promise to Cliff that she will build him a rocket to Jupiter, Scarlett meets the (possible) love-of-her-life and finds out how much her family means to her.
This book is a favorite of mine. I started reading and devoured it until the very last page. I loved the reader-writer connection. I also adored the innocent air around Cliff. The first person narrating was excellent and I felt like I was actually Scarlett. Trying to choose a favorite character is impossible. Each character has a piece of me. Franks love for animals, Scarlett's passion for cooking, Juli's stubbornness. I guess I like Scarlett the most, she is a good role model.
The pace of the story was really good. It didn't go by too fast or too slow. It went slow enough for me to want to keep reading but fast enough to keep me interested. As the plot unraveled, my interest for the story grew and now I don't think I could love this story more. It really was wonderfully good. Overall, this was a great read. Recommended to 6-10 graders, this book is a true success. Wonderful job,Rachel, and keep reading fellow bookworms!!