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A poignant and tenderly rendered story of growing up
on March 10, 2004
As 14-year-old Jazmin Shelby sits on the stoop of her brownstone in 1960s Harlem, she can see the world pass her by, and she's not terribly impressed with the things she observes. Her community is plagued with hustlers, drug dealers, vagrants, and people who have lost touch with any type of reality outside of city life. Family life for Jazmin is not much better. Her mother is consumed by the demons of alcohol and is often "missing in action," going in and out of hospitals on all too frequent basis. Meanwhile, her father, whom she loved dearly, died recently in a car accident. Passed around from one place to another, Jazmin finally ends up with her older sister CeCe, and they both struggle to survive on their own. While the world around her appears bleak and full of despair, Jazmin does find solace in writing, and it is within the pages or her notebook that she fights to dream and laugh at the craziness that surrounds her. She keeps her sanity by ruminating on her frustrations about family, school, and the neighborhood she calls home. There is also hope, for Jazmin's notebook is also a place where she can safely tuck in the dreams she has for a better life. Spanning less than a year, Jazmin's story unfolds in chronological order and offers readers a realistic story of a young black girl who fervently attempts to cling onto dreams in the face of adversity.