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The Battle of Jericho

The Battle of Jericho

4.3 102
by Sharon M. Draper

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Sixteen-year-old Jericho is awaiting initiation to the Warriors of Distinction, the oldest and most exclusive club in school—but how high a price will he have to pay to belong? Find out in this first novel in Sharon M. Draper’s Jericho Trilogy.

When Jericho is invited to pledge for the Warriors of Distinction, he thinks his life can’t get any


Sixteen-year-old Jericho is awaiting initiation to the Warriors of Distinction, the oldest and most exclusive club in school—but how high a price will he have to pay to belong? Find out in this first novel in Sharon M. Draper’s Jericho Trilogy.

When Jericho is invited to pledge for the Warriors of Distinction, he thinks his life can’t get any better. As the most exclusive club in school, the Warriors give the best parties, go out with the hottest girls, and great grades are a given. When Arielle, one of the finest girls in his class, starts coming on to him once the pledge announcements are made, Jericho is determined to do anything to become a member…

But as the initiation week becomes progressively harrowing, Jericho is forced to make choices he’s not entirely comfortable with. And one member seems to have it in for the sole female pledge in the group…a pledge who will stop at nothing to show she can handle the pressure. But when is she being pushed too far, and when should Jericho and his friends step in and risk losing their places in the pledging process? As Jericho becomes increasingly uneasy, his cousin Joshua breezes through the initiation, never thinking of the consequences, even when the fine line between fun and games, and life and death is crossed.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to PW, "Draper conveys the seductive power of teen clubs and the dangers of hazing rituals in this timely novel about a talented trumpet player." Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Jericho has it made—he gets a car for Christmas from his Dad and step-mother, has a pretty and intelligent girl friend, and has been asked to pledge for the Warriors of Distinction, a high school private club. This club has a long history of good deeds and public work in the community, and many prominent people Jericho knows were once members during high school. But the pledging process strikes Jericho as demeaning and weird. Dana, the only girl in the group, seems to be getting more than her share of the abuse, and he starts wondering about this seemingly wonderful club. When he has to decide between a concert recital that could earn him a scholarship to Julliard, or whether to take part in the pledging rituals, Jericho chooses the rituals. The last night of pledging leads to a horrible consequence, and he realizes that he made a big mistake. The book outlines why hazing rituals are outlawed in many places in North America. It also shows how the participants can be caught up in the process, and do not realize how wrong it is until something goes very badly. Jericho is a typical African-American teenager and the side story of his life with a new stepmother and his dealings with girls add more poignancy to the story. This is a touching and scary novel that is excellently written. 2003, Simon and Schuster Publishing,
— Jennifer-Lynn Draper
Draper does not write books; she writes parables. In her latest, eleventh-grader Jericho Prescott is the endearing kid everyone wants in his or her family: a thinking, sensitive young man. He lives with his father, stepmother, and two little stepbrothers who idolize their loving big brother. True to his name, Jericho finds peace in his trumpet, named Zora, as he plays out his emotions. (If Jericho were any less wonderful, the story would be less heartbreaking.) Jericho and his cousin have been asked to join the Warriors of Distinction, a seemingly respectable service club, giving them a chance to be part of the elite instead of just on the fringe watching. Pledge week starts and Jericho's doubts begin. At school, the initiation is playful, but several staff members express concern about rumors of serious hazing. At night, the pledges suffer growing humiliation, from being walked on dog leashes to receiving violent paddling to digging through a manure-filled garbage bin for a gun. No one stops it-not when Dana gets a swirlie in a urine-filled toilet or when Kofi turns gray from his heart disorder after exhaustive running, or when they are told to jump out of a second-story window. The book's lesson for adults confirms what they fear: Youth do not think for themselves, and when they are forced to choose between the dangerous and not fitting in, danger does not look so bad. Its lesson for youthful readers is yet another warning: Be careful what you trade away in exchange for acceptance because the cost is usually very high. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades10 to 12). 2003, Atheneum/S & S, 297p, Bott
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-When an elite club, The Warriors of Distinction, invites Jericho and his cousin Josh to pledge, the teens look forward to wearing the black silk jacket, going to great parties, and receiving the admiring glances of the other students at their Ohio high school. Even the girl Jericho has a crush on begins to show an interest in him. The initiation process begins rather tamely with the new pledges helping with the Christmas toy drive, but as it progresses, Jericho becomes increasingly uncomfortable with what they are asked to do and the way they treat Dana, the first-ever female pledge. Adopting the group's "All of us or none of us" creed, the 15 inductees decide to continue. In an intense climax, pledging goes tragically wrong and the repercussions are felt throughout the community. Draper has captured the essence of teens caught up in peer pressure who must ultimately live with the results of their actions. Her characters are deeply human and the strong plot mirrors the difficult choices that young people must make as they try to reconcile their need for acceptance with their inner values. Mostly, though, this title is a compelling read that drives home important lessons about making choices.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Warriors of Distinction are Douglas High's elite group, a brotherhood separate from school, a service club with a secret initiation resulting in a slick jacket that is the ultimate status symbol for the guys. When cousins Josh and Jericho and their friend Kofi are asked to participate in the Christmas toy drive, they know they are being considered as members. When Kofi's girlfriend Dana sneaks into the midnight initiation, demanding her right to join, everyone knows that this will not be an ordinary pledge group. Draper drops plenty of hints that hazing can be dangerous, even deadly and then supplies a dénouement that's unexpected, but somehow inevitable. As pledge week grimly proceeds, issues arise in Jericho's mind and his trumpet-playing serves as an outlet for his confusion, but readers will see with crystal clarity that in secrecy, evil breeds. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Publication date:
Jericho Trilogy Series , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Battle of Jericho

  • THE PLEDGE MASTERS MARCHED THE FIFTEEN pledges to the middle of the soggy yard. The ground was muddy and squished as they walked, and the frigid air whipped across the pledges’ wet T-shirts. Sharp needles of rain stung them as they stood there silently waiting for instructions.

    “Kneel!” Rick Sharp shouted to Jericho.

    Jericho wanted to disobey, but instead he knelt immediately. Cold mud soaked through his jeans in seconds.

    “Take off my boot, Pledge Slime!” the six-foot, broad-shouldered senior shouted to Jericho over the noise of the pouring rain. He glanced down at Jericho, who huddled at his feet.

    Jericho shivered as the rain came down harder and made him sink deeper into the mud of the desolate warehouse yard. His fingers were wet and stiff, but he reached for Sharp’s big, black army boot and slowly began to untie the laces.

    “Hurry up, Pledge Slime!” Sharp shouted. Jericho dejectedly struggled to untie the wet lace of the pledge master’s boot, his fingers aching. He wasn’t sure what to do when he finished. He had no idea how to get the boot off Rick’s foot.

    He glanced over to see, if he could, the line of the other pledges, also kneeling in the mud at the feet of their pledge masters. But the rain and the darkness made it difficult to see very much. Jericho could barely even see Josh, who was closest to him in the line, but he could hear Mad Madison shouting at him in the darkness. Jericho couldn’t see Kofi or Dana at all.

    “All of us have been where you are tonight,” Sharp told Jericho. “A Warrior of Distinction is not afraid to lower himself for his brother. A Warrior of Distinction does not show fear. Are you afraid, Pledge Slime?”

    “No, sir,” Jericho replied. “I’m not afraid.”

    “Then get busy! The rest of your pledge class, slimy and disgusting as they are, seem to be doing fine. Do you want to let them down?”

    Jericho inhaled slowly. It was all of them or none of them. “Can you lift your foot, Master Senior Sharp, sir?” Jericho asked timidly. As he raised his face to look at Sharp, he gasped as the icy rain stung his eyes.

    “Did I give you permission to speak, Pledge Slime?” Sharp snarled. Jericho said nothing, but Rick lifted his right foot, using Jericho’s head to balance himself.

    Jericho pulled the boot off with difficulty. He was afraid that he would fall or would make Rick fall as he tugged at the boot. Either would have been disastrous, but he managed to get the boot off smoothly. The stench of Rick Sharp’s foot was enough to make Jericho choke.

    “Now take off the sock,” Rick barked.

    Jericho hesitated and hoped they would be able to go home soon. He slowly peeled off Rick’s sock. Rick’s foot reeked of sweat.

    “Place the sock on the ground, then set my foot down on it. Make sure not a speck of mud touches my foot,” he commanded.

    Jericho did as he was told and Rick Sharp removed his hand from Jericho’s head as he lowered his foot to the ground. Then he bent down and whispered into Jericho’s ear, “You havin’ fun yet?”

    Jericho didn’t dare tell the truth—that he had stopped having fun long ago.

    “You really want to be a Warrior of Distinction?” Rick asked.

    Jericho nodded. He thought of the prestige of having one of those black silk jackets, the admiring glances in the halls at school, but mostly he thought of Arielle. He tried not to think of the rain and the mud and the stink of Rick’s feet.

    “Are you willing to do anything to be a Warrior of Distinction?” Rick demanded. “You have permission to answer.”

    “Yes, sir! Yes, Master Senior Sharp, sir! I am willing to do anything to be a Warrior of Distinction, sir!” Jericho repeated the words that he and the other pledges had been chanting automatically since the whole process began. But he wasn’t sure if he meant them anymore.

    “Are you willing to do anything to help the others become Warriors of Distinction?” Rick demanded.

    “Anything, sir.” Jericho just wanted it to be over.

    “Then suck my big toe.”

    “Sir?” Jericho wasn’t sure if he had heard correctly.

    “If you want to be a Warrior of Distinction, you must suck my big toe. Now!”

    Jericho looked around desperately; he had no idea what the others were being forced to do. As he lowered his head close to the mud and closer to Rick Sharp’s foot, Jericho wondered miserably how he could have sunk so low.

  • Meet the Author

    Sharon M. Draper is a New York Times bestselling author and recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. She has received the Coretta Scott King Award for both Copper Sun and Forged by Fire. Her Out of My Mind has won multiple awards and has been a New York Times bestseller for well over three years. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years and was named National Teacher of the Year. Visit her at SharonDraper.com.

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    The Battle of Jericho 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 102 reviews.
    aj95 More than 1 year ago
    Battle of Jericho is a fabulous book. It gives you in sight on hazing. I mean we all hear the stories and we think why would you do it? But in this book you're in the mind of somebody going through that. When they realize how wrong it is and then have to face consequences.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    While being very intriguing, this book captivates the reader to want to know what is going to happen next. I read this book in 2 days, and couldnt put it down. Being a teenage reader, it is hard to find an appropriate book while still being pure and not sexually revolting... this is very pure, and i had no problem with the material. The author writes it wonderfully, and keeps you wanting more. Best book i have read in a long time. Currently reading #2!! Cant wait!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Its interesting but emotional
    greekmeee More than 1 year ago
    this book is awesome!!! i am only on page 32 and i can not put the book down at all!!! i am really picky about what books i read but this is deffinitely another book that i am going to finish. this awesome is the best ever to me!! i mean i did another review on one of her books(tears of a tiger) o read it non-stop at school and i finished it in 2 days. i think sharon draper is the best author ever!!!!!!!!!! read her books!!!!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Should make a movie about this booook.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Worth every single penny. I could not put this down. It was so intense and real!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I am currently in the 8th grade and i was assigned this book and just by looking at the cover i didnt want to read it bc i didnt look like my type of book !!!!! BUT as i started to read the book i fell in love with it and didnt want to put it down - i think that no matter how old or young u r u will deffinaly love this book - i have read tons of books and this is deffinatly mii favorite and i totally reccomend buying it :)
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is a great book. It shows a lot of character development and it keeps u reading.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Totally worth the cost
    KLBCHOICES More than 1 year ago
    Jericho Prescott thinks to be a part of the Warriors of Distinction, a high school club, will somehow improve his life. The thought of wearing the black silk jacket he'll receive once he undergoes the "Bonding of the Brotherhood", being noticed by his peers, and getting the attention of a particular girl seem to be more important to him than anything. Against his better judgment, he endures humiliation, mind games & numerous indignities to become a Warrior of Distinction. He wants to belong to the best group in the school so badly, in fact, that he gives up a chance to live his dream of studying the trumpet at Julliard, one of the world's premier performing arts schools. Sadly, it takes a tragic accident to open his eyes to the fact that everything that glitters isn't gold. As I read what went on during the so-called Bonding of the Brotherhood (hazing, in actuality), it really bothered me. But what bothered me most was how these alarming events were taking place, and the parents of these young people had no idea what their teens were going through. This story drives home the importance of parents keeping track of their children's lives.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A must-read for book junkies like myself!
    RipTide16 More than 1 year ago
    Awesome book. I have to read this book because we were assigned to in our class so at first i didn't like it. But then it's really good.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book tells of teens who would do anything to get in this 1 boys club but ends up in a sad trajice acsident that nobody would have ever emajond. Sharon M. Draper writes in a way that explaiens bad things do happen to good people. These acsidens are hard to belive. All her stories help you reconize what happens or happend to people in present an past time. -LuLu A. 11
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    Best book ever , it keeps readers in suspense