Just Another Hero (Jericho Trilogy #3)
  • Just Another Hero (Jericho Trilogy #3)
  • Just Another Hero (Jericho Trilogy #3)

Just Another Hero (Jericho Trilogy #3)

4.5 79
by Sharon M. Draper

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Suppose someone showed up in YOUR classroom carrying an AK-47. You have a split second: To think. To act. To be a hero.

But what is a hero?

That question becomes all too real for Arielle, November, Jericho, and their friends. They've been through so much: the hazing ritual that left Joshua dead and hearts aching; November finding out that she was pregnant

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Suppose someone showed up in YOUR classroom carrying an AK-47. You have a split second: To think. To act. To be a hero.

But what is a hero?

That question becomes all too real for Arielle, November, Jericho, and their friends. They've been through so much: the hazing ritual that left Joshua dead and hearts aching; November finding out that she was pregnant with Josh's baby. But senior year is going well, and when the fire alarm goes off in English class, everyone assumes that crazy Jack is trying to get out of another quiz. But the alarm was pulled for a very different reason. A potentially deadly reason. There's only a matter of seconds to stop a tragedy, and all eyes are searching for someone -- anyone -- to step up and do something.

This shocking conclusion to the two-time Coretta Scott King Honor-winning trilogy by Sharon M. Draper will have you holding your breath to the very last page.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

More trials are in store for the Ohio teens featured in Battle of Jericho and November Blues in this final book in Draper's trilogy. This time the focus is on Arielle-whose mother has recently married a wealthy, controlling man who treats his stepdaughter and wife more like property than family-and Kofi, a promising student whose chance for success is threatened by his prescription drug addiction. While fighting deeply personal battles during their senior year, Arielle and Kofi are drawn into school dramas concerning the inexplicable disappearance of student property as well as recurring fire drills, a prank that eventually leads to a deadly situation. As in her previous novels, Draper shows mastery in building suspense and articulating adolescent emotions and reactions ("Kofi could feel Dana tense up, in the same way some people reacted to a snake-with great fear and the need to put distance between themselves and the reptile"). If the shocking climax, which culminates with a school shooting, appears a little contrived, powerful final events will leave readers pondering the definition of heroism. Ages 12-up. (June)

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Children's Literature - Jennie DeGenaro
A group of high school seniors are close friends and hope to graduate together in the spring. Their personalities reflect their lifestyles. Each has unique problems that can be found among many students today. This page-turner keeps the reader anxious to learn more. The characters have issues to deal with as they try to succeed in school. The protagonist, Arielle, has problems at home that keep her on edge. Another girl, November, is caring for her handicapped baby. The baby's father was accidentally killed before they could be married. She is trying to make up the work she missed while on maternity leave. This is only a sample of the characters you will read about in this fascinating book. Things come to a head toward the end of the school year. The administration is concerned because students have had money and other items stolen from them. A student recommends a different method to catch the thief which they try. The situation is almost solved when a boy brings a gun to school and is threatening classmates. The police are called to handle both cases. Before anyone is hurt, students emerge as heroes and take the gun away from the boy. The reader and students are disappointed to learn who the thief is when the police take her away. This is a Coretta Scott King Honor book. The author, Sharon M. Draper, taught high school English for twenty-five years and the experience is reflected in her ability to capture the essence of teens while describing their triumphs and disappointments. Draper has written fourteen other exciting books for her following of avid readers. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro
VOYA - Marla Unruh
Studying in the hall early one morning, Arielle's thoughts are interrupted by loud voices near the boy's gym. Two boys are forcing a smaller boy to the swimming pool so they can strip him and throw him in while a third youth films for YouTube. When Arielle screams at them, they run away. Afterward Arielle sadly reflects that she was once one of the mean ones who teased and tormented others. Now she sits alone in the lunchroom. Arielle's former boyfriend, Jericho, is with Olivia, a girl once scorned by Arielle. When Arielle's new iPhone disappears from her book bag, she knows her controlling stepfather will use this fact to add to her misery. Is Eddie, just back from detention, behind the disappearance and other recent thefts? Or does Crazy Jack crave more attention? And why does someone keep pulling the school fire alarm? "I had forgotten how hard it is to be a kid," says Arielle's after-school boss. Draper has not forgotten, and in her deft hands, the real heroes are teens who prevail over problems that would overwhelm many adults. This third novel of The Jericho Trilogy can stand alone, even as it resolves the ongoing story lines of the aftermath of Josh's death, November's pregnancy, and Arielle's comeuppance. Likeable and courageous young characters find their way past painkillers, bullying, and disabilities. A caring, techno-savvy teacher who triumphs over a failed school system is one of several dynamic adult characters. The author presents a timeless theme in a well-crafted, highly readable story. Reviewer: Marla Unruh
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–During their senior year at Douglass High, tightly knit friends confront both personal struggles and unsettling school situations. Arielle, Kofi, and the rest of their group mend fences after and come to grips with a lethal hazing event from the past. But there are more problems to tackle. Arielle accidentally witnesses a repugnant bullying incident that the victim asks her to keep secret and resolutely deals with her rich and controlling stepfather. Kofi worries about his irresponsible parents, securing college funding, his pain-pill addiction, and keeping his romance intact. New mother November returns to her classes, determined to finish school. Crazy Jack hides his mental instability by appearing funny and cool. Meanwhile, someone is stealing money and personal property at school. Alternating third-person chapters zero in on Arielle and Kofi while skillfully weaving their friends, classmates, teachers, and others into the plot. The discovery of the thief near the end is surprising and unsettling, and Jack’s breakdown, which involves an assault rifle and holding students hostage, immediately following is jarring. Though it is all a bit much, the quick pace, convincing dialogue, and interesting characters and situations will compel teens, especially those who have read TheBattle of Jericho (2003) and November Blues (2007, both S & S).–Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO
Kirkus Reviews
Draper presents the conclusion to the trilogy that began with The Battle of Jericho (2003) and November Blues (2007), both Coretta Scott King Honor books. It is senior year, and Arielle and Kofi take center stage. Arielle is coping with issues at home and school. Her mother's new husband imposes rigid controls, and in addition, she has not always been a good friend to the girls in their circle so she worries about being accepted. Kofi, a brilliant science student, battles a secret addiction to prescription drugs as he frets about paying for college. A rash of burglaries at school casts suspicion on various individuals. But a crisis from an unlikely source explodes on the scene, and the school community works together to try to stop impending tragedy. The well-rounded characters are resilient African-American teens going through normal growing pains while navigating the realities of their communities. The texture and rhythm of contemporary life are woven throughout the narrative, enhancing its readability. Readers of urban fiction will enjoy this and receive a bit more in the bargain. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Jericho Trilogy Series, #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
HL660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


Chapter 1

Thursday, February 3

"Grab his arms!"

"Now pick up his legs!"

"Hey, quit! Stop! Leave me alone!"

"This is gonna be too funny!"

"Hurry up, before a teacher shows up."

"He's slippery like a little worm, man."

"Quit wigglin', little punk! You gonna make me throw you in the pool!"

"Let me GO!"

Arielle Gresham, who had come to school early to get some homework done, was sitting alone in a side hall near the boys' gym, lost in her own thoughts. Startled by the noise, she turned her head to see two big guys carrying a kicking, flailing smaller boy into the hall that led to the swimming pool.

"Put me down!"

"Make me!"

"PLEASE just leave me alone!"

"This is gonna be the best YouTube video ever!"

"Make sure you film just him and not our faces, dude."

"I'm not stupid!"

Arielle heard screeches of complaint, more laughter, then silence. By this time she was already on her feet and marching toward the locker room that led to the boys' entrance to the pool. She'd never actually been in a boys' locker room before, or any male bathroom for that matter, but she figured she could handle it.

The smell hit her first. How could a room that had to have been cleaned last night still reek so bad? The room was brightly lit with fluorescent bulbs that illuminated everything with a purplish glare. The row of urinals lined up against one pee-spattered wall helped explain the smell. Battered green lockers and benches lined the far wall.

She hurried out of there and down the hall to the pool. The voices, louder and clearer, made her break into a run.

"Throw his jeans into the pool!" A soft splash.

"He's wearin' tightie-whities, man!" Lots of deep laughter echoed.

"Throw those in too."

Arielle opened the door to the pool area. Damp, moist air, sharpened by the pungent tang of chlorine, hit her face.

The scene in front of her made her gasp. Two guys, students she'd seen around but did not know, were holding a squirming, crying student facedown on the tiled floor. He wore only a navy blue hoodie and his socks. His shoes lay a few feet away, but his jeans and underpants floated nearby in seven feet of water. A third boy was holding a cell phone, obviously filming the scene.

"What is wrong with you?" she screamed. Her voice echoed against the damp walls. "Let him go!"

"Busted!" the largest of the three said. "By a girl! Too cool!"

"No sweat. We got enough to post," the filmer crowed gleefully, flipping his cell phone shut. "Hey, Wardley! Your butt's gonna be famous!"

And with that, all three bigger guys hooted with laughter and ran out of the pool area.

The kid who'd been released lay there, his hands clasped over his head, trembling.

Arielle, unsure of what to do, knew he had to be mortified.

"Get out," the boy mumbled.

"Do you want me to try and fish your clothes out of the pool?" she offered.

"I said get out!" the boy said louder.

She was pretty sure she recognized that voice. "Osrick?" she asked.

Osrick Wardley was in her chemistry and English classes, but Arielle barely knew him. He was seventeen — a senior like the rest of them — but he was only about five feet tall and couldn't have weighed more than a hundred pounds. With dirty blond hair, a mouth full of braces, and a narrow, sunken chest, the kid was a magnet for guys who liked to act tough. Members of the football team sucker punched him and tossed him into wastebaskets with regularity. And now, it seemed, the swimmers were taking their turn.

Of course, everybody called him Weird Osrick. Who would name a kid Osrick? Arielle thought. His parents might as well have pinned a sign on him that said, please make fun of me!

Osrick had never scored anything lower than an A in any class Arielle had shared with him. Except for gym, which had to be rough for a guy who could be knocked over by a wildly tossed basketball.

"Osrick, are you okay?" Arielle asked. She touched her carefully curled hair, which was beginning to droop in the humid air.

"Please, promise you won't tell anybody!" Osrick pleaded. "Please!"

"Okay, okay! I promise." Arielle frowned, pondering whether that was the right thing to say. Surely she should tell a teacher?

"Now please just leave," Osrick begged.

"Suit yourself," Arielle said with a shrug. "I was just trying to help." She picked up a towel, tossed it toward him, then hurried out of the pool area, leaving Osrick to the privacy of his humiliation.

Copyright © 2009 by Sharon M. Draper

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