** spoiler alert ** *Thank you BookishFirst for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review*
This story is about a well known black judge in Georgia that was known for giving people second chances in an effort to better their lives. Judge Donaldson lost his first wife, Maya's mother, when Maya was five. He then met Jeanie, who was damaged herself, and together the two of them became a couple and the talk of the town. Maya, of course, felt some type of way about it and was bitter to Jeanie because of how her father treated them differently. Maya is really close with her step-sister, Ryder.
When Judge dies, their lives are all altered. Maya doesn't know how to release her feelings and be soft, Jeanie becomes an alcoholic, and Ryder starts hanging out with the wrong crowd. When Maya finds out Jeanie's condition and the consequences of Ryder's decision to hang out with "the bad kids", Maya steps in.
She puts Jeanie in rehab and gets Ryder in a summer program to keep her record clean so that she can go to college. Meanwhile, Maya is dealing with her father's death her own way. She quits her job at a firm that passed her up for partner, and ends her relationship with her boyfriend.
During Jeanie's stay in rehab she rediscovers herself and meets the best friend that she needed. She was able to apologize and work on her relationship with Maya and get back into painting.
Ryder learns a lot about relationships over that summer, and realizes just how great she is at spoken word. She's had one of her poems published in magazine, and she is able to release a lot of her feelings through spoken word. Which, by the way, Ryder's final summer performance was amazing.
Maya and Jeanie build their relationship and become close. Maya finally opens herself up to love.
This was a great story. I really enjoyed reading from Maya, Ryder and Jeanie's perspectives.