Tough because of Mama’s addiction to drugs and alcohol. Tough because Daddy is away with the army fighting in Iraq. Tough because it looks like there is no way out once you’re living in a homeless shelter in a North Carolina ghetto neighborhood. And tough because Joseph is enrolled at yet another new school where he doesn’t know anyone and has to keep what is going on in his life a secret.
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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 has moved in with his aunt and uncle to avoid the toxic environment surrounding his drug-addicted mother. But efforts to keep Joseph safe have tragic results for the family. When their community is shattered, Joseph must contend with his own grief, his mother’s persistent pleas for money, and the distance between himself and his father, stationed in Iraq - not to mention schoolwork, making the tennis team, and a new relationship.