Shelia P. Moses. Joseph’s Grace. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2011.

Compared to his life a few years ago when Joseph and his drug-addicted mother lived in a homeless shelter, things have gotten much better for the teenager. Now Joseph lives with his Aunt Shirley, Uncle Todd, and beloved cousin Jasmine in a nice neighborhood in Durham. He is enjoying his summer break by perfecting his tennis game, working at Target, and getting to know his co-worker, Valerie, a little better. In a few months, Joseph’s father will return from service in Iraq.

However, not all is well with his mother, Betty. She is still abusing drugs and dating Bow, a dangerous thug. No one grasps how scary Bow is until the day that he breaks into Shirley and Todd’s house looking for Betty. Frustrated with the answers that Joseph and Jasmine give him for her absence, Bow shoots his gun into a wall. A stray bullet hits Jasmine in the head, killing her instantly.

Joseph’s family is devastated by their tragic loss. When Betty returns to her old ways just two weeks after Jasmine’s death, though, Joseph realizes how selfish – and embarrassing – his mother truly is. Aunt Shirley suggests forcing her to go to rehab, and Joseph finally accepts that it will be the only way to save his mother and to help everyone cope.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Children & Young Adults, Durham, Moses, Shelia P., Piedmont

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