November Blues (Jericho Trilogy #2)

November Blues (Jericho Trilogy #2)

4.7 147
by Sharon M. Draper

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When November Nelson loses her boyfriend, Josh, to a pledge stunt gone horribly wrong, she thinks her life can't possibly get any worse. But Josh left something behind that will change November's life forever, and now she's faced with the biggest decision she could ever imagine. How in the world will she tell her mom? And how will Josh's parents take the news? She's… See more details below


When November Nelson loses her boyfriend, Josh, to a pledge stunt gone horribly wrong, she thinks her life can't possibly get any worse. But Josh left something behind that will change November's life forever, and now she's faced with the biggest decision she could ever imagine. How in the world will she tell her mom? And how will Josh's parents take the news? She's never needed a friend more.

Jericho Prescott lost his best friend when he lost his cousin, Josh, and the pain is almost more than he can bear. His world becomes divided into "before" and "after" Josh's death. He finds the only way he can escape the emptiness he feels is to quit doing the things that made him happy when his cousin was alive, such as playing his beloved trumpet, and take up football, where he hopes the physical pain will suppress the emotional. But will hiding behind shoulder pads really help? And will his gridiron obsession prevent him from being there for his cousin's girlfriend when she needs him most?

This sequel to The Battle of Jericho is a no-holds-barred look at what happens when life doesn't go as planned, by the acclaimed author of the 2007 Coretta Scott King Award winner Copper Sun.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
November Nelson lost her boyfriend Josh a few months ago. His sudden death during a pledge stunt was a shock to everyone. His family members are dealing with their grief in their own way. His mother is wasting away while his father is frantic with energy. His cousin Jericho has lost interest in his music and is struggling with day-to-day life without Josh. But just as life is more or less moving on, November discovers she is pregnant. Josh is the father. This unexpected pregnancy changes everything in the teenager’s life. She must now find the courage to take responsibility and face her uncertain future with all her strength. This compulsively readable book deals with the all-too-true reality of teenage pregnancy and accords it a dignity that is not found in many books. The rich tapestry of characters brings the story to life with the palpable strength of human emotion. It shows the consequences of our actions, but it also points out to the ease with which mistakes are made. The unexpected ending is an all-too-real possibility. Reviewer: Monserrat Urena
VOYA - Marla K. Unruh
Eleventh grader November Nelson feels queasy and ill much of the time. Alone in the house, she pulls the test kit out of her backpack, knowing before she sees the results that she is pregnant. Still grieving for her boyfriend-Josh died in a hazing mishap in The Battle of Jericho (Atheneum/S & S, 2003/VOYA August 2003)-November must now grapple with a radically altered future. Not the least of her woes is the realization that she has destroyed her mother's dream of sending her to college. Her friends try to support her, and Jericho Prescott, Josh's cousin, vows to stand by her. More troubles come her way when her doctor expresses growing concern about her high blood pressure, and when Josh's parents try to force her to give them the baby. Little Sunshine is born too early, and November must face the possibility that her daughter might have developmental problems. Despite these obstacles, her love for her child provides a hopeful ending. Teen pregnancy takes center stage in this novel and even slows down the story a bit as the author illuminates the consequences of a few minutes of abandon. Her teen characters are thoughtfully drawn, some coping with adversity and others seeing only themselves. They act like teens, though, one minute laughing as they playfully toss junk food into their grocery cart and the next minute soberly contemplating the price of baby formula. Their world is the urban high school, but their struggles will resonate with teens everywhere.
Anjeanette C. Alexander-Smith
November Blues is the sequel to Draper's The Battle of Jericho. Josh's death has affected so many of his friends and family. Jericho, his cousin, has given up his first love— playing trumpet. November, his girlfriend, grapples with his disappearance and the new addition he has left behind—his unborn daughter. Jericho tries to deal with his grief by trying out for the football team. November tries to hide her pregnancy for as long as she can. Josh's parents segregate themselves from everyone until they find out about the pregnancy. They see the baby as a way to have a piece of Josh in their lives and hire a lawyer to create documents to allow them to adopt November's baby. November is at a crossroads. Is giving the baby up the right thing to do? This book is recommended for middle and high school students. There are no instances of profanity or sexual scenes. Draper has written another fine book that addresses the choices adolescents must make and their consequences. Reviewer: Anjeanette C. Alexander-Smith
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up In The Battle of Jericho (S & S, 2003), Josh died as a result of a hazing ritual. Now, his girlfriend and his cousin Jericho are dealing with his sudden death. For November, it also means facing the consequences of having had sex with Josh the night before he died and learning that she is pregnant. Draper gives an accurate and sympathetic portrayal of urban teens at a crossroad. There are no false notes in these strong male and female characters. Readers will care about them and appreciate the straightforward way that the author presents the issues they face, from the everyday struggles of cafeteria confrontations to the dire situation of teenage pregnancy. Draper clearly shows, through November, the pros and cons of having a baby while still in school; the loss of freedom and a changing future; and, finally, acceptance and a deep love for a child. Another strong element of the story is the supportive adults who surround the teens. While still in the background, the parents and teachers can be counted on when they are needed. There are no easy answers and there's no pat ending; what comes through is that life plans can change in an instant and it is how we react to these changes that makes us who we are and who we become. Urban teens often ask, "Where are the books about us, Miss?" and with this novel Draper has once again given them something meaty and meaningful to read.-Anne Rouyer, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Sixteen-year-old Josh Prescott dies jumping from a second-story window in a high-school hazing ritual and leaves behind a mess. His girlfriend, November Nelson, is pregnant, his cousin Jericho has lost his best friend and his parents hire a lawyer to try to convince November that they ought to raise their grandchild. November is her mother's "perfect princess," the one who's going to make it, and it's this mother-daughter relationship that is the heart of the novel. With its effective depiction of the difficulties of having a baby-the health issues, the damaged relationship with her mother, the tricky dynamics of school life-this is clearly a cautionary tale about teen pregnancy. Though the dialogue sounds stilted at times, the story is well-plotted, realistic and matter-of-fact, and November and Jericho are well-drawn, likable characters. Though a companion to The Battle of Jericho (2003), this stands well on its own. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Jericho Trilogy Series , #2
Sold by:
Sales rank:
770L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt




November Nelson lurched to the bathroom, feeling faint and not quite in control of her suddenly unsteady legs. She touched her forehead and found it warm and glazed with sweat. Sinking down on the soft blue rug in front of the toilet, she was grateful for the momentary stability of the floor. But her head continued to spin, and her stomach churned. She lifted the toilet lid, gazed into the water, and wished she could disappear into its depths. Her breath became more shallow, and her nausea more intense. Finally, uncontrollably, and forcefully, all her distress erupted and she lost her lunch in heaves and waves of vomiting. Pepperoni pizza.

She flushed the toilet several times as she sat on the floor waiting to feel normal again. Finally she stood up shakily, gargled with peppermint mouthwash, and peered at herself in the mirror.

"You look like a hot mess," she whispered to her reflection. Her skin, instead of its usual coppery brown, looked gray and mottled. She hadn't combed her hair all day, so it was a halo of tangles.

November knew her mother would be home soon and would be angry to find out she'd skipped school. She didn't care. Her thoughts were focused on the package in her backpack. Even though she knew the house was empty, she made sure the bathroom door was locked. She dug the little purple and pink box out of her book bag and placed it on the sink. It seemed out of place in her mother's perfectly coordinated powder blue bathroom.

With trembling hands she unwrapped the plastic and opened the box. She read the directions carefully. She looked out of the small bathroom window and watched the last of the early spring snow melting on the grass. Everything looked the same, but she knew in her heart that it was all different now.

November finally turned back to the little white tube in the box and followed the instructions, which were written, she noticed, in Spanish and French as well. Three minutes later the indicator silently screamed the news that she already suspected. She was pregnant.

Copyright © 2007 by Sharon M. Draper

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