Summary: Shaamel Bates has written a gritty story of a girl’s courage, commitment, confidence and competence to triumph from a life of poverty. Paris Jensen lives in a world colored by a father who left her, a mother who is a drug addict, responsibility for her younger siblings, and a friend who has an abusive stepdad. Her only salvation is education- a salvation she clings to with determination. Encouraged by teachers, she works hard and dreams of going to Harvard. When her father returns and her best friend considers suicide, Paris has to move from a shy, quiet girl to a leader quickly. This first work is a raw and unvarnished story of a hard life, a hopeful spirit and a personal victory. I look forward to watching Paris Jensen as she grows in her leadership and her positive impact on others.