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Joseph’s sophomore year is about to begin, but his new start is a false one. At his father’s request Joseph moved in with Aunt Shirley, Uncle Todd and cousin Jasmine over the summer, to distance himself from his mother’s drug problems and the dangerous characters she interacts with. But efforts to keep Joseph safe have had tragic results for Jasmine: Momma’s boyfriend Bow, on one of his regular rounds lurking around the neighborhood, shoots through a wall and kills Jasmine on the spot. As Joseph contends with his own grief, his mother’s persistent pleas for money, and the distance between himself and his father in Iraq—not to mention schoolwork, making the tennis team, and a new relationship—he’s learning what’s most important to him, and what sacrifices he’ll have to make to become the person he needs to be.

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