Back to The Battle of Jericho & November Blues

I’m almost through with Just Another Hero (Atheneum, 2009), and Za’id wants an up to the minute report of where I am in the book. He suggested that we go back and reread The Battle of Jericho (Atheneum, 2003) & November Blues (Atheneum, 2007). We listened to The Battle of Jericho on CD shortly after it was released. The narrator, J.D. Jackson, gave each character distinct voices, and we were engrossed in his rendition of teenage life in an urban high school.  Jericho is caught up in the excitement of pledging for The Warriors of Distinction, a respected group at Frederick Douglass High School. We want to help him make it through the pledge process with his dignity in check, but realize it’s impossible.
We waited patiently for November Blues. We wanted Jericho to have a large role in the story, but he does not appear until chapter 5. Like November, Jericho is a rising senior. Because he is still grieving about his cousin Josh’s death, he has decided to stop playing the trumpet forever because “that’s how long Josh will be gone.” He pursues football, a sport that will allow him to release anger and frustration, instead, and ends up with a new girlfriend, Olivia. Something about Jericho’s world seems to interest Za’id, but he seems just as dedicated to the female characters in Draper’s books.