IN JUPITER'S SHADOW
"At times heart-wrenching and at others heartwarming,
In Jupiter's Shadow is ultimately a funny, poignant,
and uplifting tale that does not disappoint." read full review
Georgia Beers, reviewer, The Empty Closet
from others is easy.
Hiding from yourself is trickier.
Coming of age in the early '80s in rural Western New York – the last of six children in a devout Catholic family – Greg Gerard dreams of escape and adventure. He's different from his older siblings; he is "The Caboose." When mom makes fudge, he's the one who gets to scrape the bowl. While his older brothers and sisters go to public school, he attends Saint Michael's – where a friendly nun with sturdy shoes and a ubiquitous guitar remind him of his favorite movie, The Sound of Music. At night, he sleeps with boards under his sheets – so he, too, can be as holy as the Saints he reads about.
Mystery surrounds Greg. At church, the priest dips his head, whispering indistinguishable prayers. At home, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and his favorite detective, Jupiter Jones from The Three Investigators, provide an endless supply of adventure and intrigue. He devours their stories, mimics their behaviors, and dreams of the day when he too can solve a real-life puzzle.
At thirteen, Greg's own mystery presents itself in the most unlikely place – the steamy bathtub on the second floor. He discovers sexuality – and senses that it's unusual for a boy to think about Superman while doing so.
of the literary pleasures of this year.
In Jupiter's Shadow is one of those books
the reader wishes would never end."
Grady Harp, reviewer, Poets & Artists (O&S)
Greg's determined to crack the case – to figure out how to be attracted to girls. He builds a hidden detective agency on the second floor of the family barn, a place to dodge his father's alcoholic mood swings and listen to his favorite show, The CBS Radio Mystery Theater. He finds companionship with his oldest brother (who suffers from hydrocephalus and memory problems) while his angst remains as tightly hidden as the stack of pornography he pilfers from his father's grocery store.
Mentorship from a Jesuit priest (an actor with a Hollywood past) and the shock of a close friend's unexpected death ultimately propel Greg to a point where he must reverse his escape path and solve the conflict between the shadow of "should be" and the light of self-awareness.
"Greg Gerard delights and entertains as he energetically and
systematically tackles the mysteries of
God, family, and later, sexuality."
-Sonja Livingston, author of Ghostbread
In the end, In Jupiter's Shadow tweaks the struggle of adolescent sexual anxiety to take readers on a colorful quest for self definition. With the enthusiasm of an old-style mystery (including a Cast of Characters at each section break), it explores the importance of emerging from the 'shadow' of others' expectations – and how we often work to keep profound truths hidden from the most important person in our lives: ourselves.
bighearted, and filled with homespun wisdom,
In Jupiter's Shadow is a mystery story of a different stripe!"
-Alison Smith, author of Name All the Animals