A young man has a loving foster care placement in hopes of being adopted when his past shows up. Bernadine is used to getting into places reserved for private meetings and top ranking officials. Her social status and money work well together. Bernadine runs a private academy where kids are geared for success in a tight community. The academy has a teaching staff that cares about student success and graduating young people well prepared for college.
Bernadine has located Dr. M. Winthrop, birth mother of a young man destined for greatness who was blessed with a loving foster family. He knows he is lucky but wants to meet his birth mother. Preston is a fourteen-year-old kid who wasn't supposed to make it. Instead, he shows extraordinary promise as a scientist. His birth mother darn near runs NASA so it says something about the power of genes.
Dr. Winthrop expresses clearly to Bernadine that she does not want to be contacted again. She has no desire to meet with or speak to Preston.
Being in the care of Shelia Payne is a blessing for the teen. Before her, Preston had been shuffled between foster homes. Black boys are the hardest to place out of all children hoping for parents and place to call home. She is okay with Preston's longing and his search for birth parents he can't possibly remember. Her husband the military colonel is not happy about it at all. Fourteen is the perfect age for teens to show their behinds. Especially those with Preston's circumstances. Barrett Payne and his foster son often bump heads.
After Preston is caught acting up at school where Barrett coaches they have it out. Preston is grounded but stands his ground that he was right. Barrett apologizes for being so hard on Preston and not being able to loosen up. He has been military since he was seventeen. He's stayed married to Shelia for thirty-four years. That has taken work on both their parts. He remembers seeing his father beat on his mother and knows how hard it is to give or gain respect of someone when they come at you in attack mode all the time. He tells Preston he apologized because he knows Preston has had a hard life including, being beaten in while in the care of others. Barrett really does want to be a better man.
They agree to take up chess in the evenings something they haven't made time for in months, while they avoided one another. Barrett sees how close Preston and Shelia are and is ready to put in some quality time as the teen's father. He admits to being scared and a bit angry that Preston may meet his birth parents and want to leave with them.
Preston's grandmother shows up at the school. She's been instructed by Bernadine to call her office and not to interact with Preston in anyway without her consent. The matriarch is from a monied family one which had never been enslaved. She and her bloodline looked down on anyone who has. Preston's birth father did not meet her criteria and she and her Dr. Winthrop, the NASA scientist have not spoken since the day she was forced to give up her son.
Preston does not want to meet or talk with his grandmother. She dogs his father's name in front of Bernadine, the colonel (who coaches at the school) and students. She doesn't care what anyone thinks she wants her grandson to help her reconnect with her estranged daughter. She doesn't care that Preston is a gifted young scholar. Only half of his bloodline is worth anything in her opinion.
Preston and his best friend Amari are grounded at the same time for logging onto porn sites. Neither of their dads plays around with rule breakers. While Preston is grounded the Barrett's decide to move forward with the adoption papers. They'd been praying over it for a while. Now seems like a perfect time especially with an out of control more-money-than-Jesus having grandmother lurking about.
Preston is sure of two things. He wants to make the colonel and Shelia proud, and he wants a real home. He is a good student and loves his community. He feels like he has a real shot at making his dreams come true. Like a good omen, Preston receives a Fed Ex package from Dr. Winthrop. His birth mom has sent him a telescope and nice note encouraging him to pursue his love of science.
He may never have a relationship with Dr. Winthrop, but he sure appreciates her reaching out and sending love with an instrument that encourages his love of stars and science.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that Preston's mom reached out to him.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Preston and Amari were caught lying about watching porn.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked Bernadine's commitment to her students.