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The Battle of Jericho
Book
2003
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. The Warriors of Distinction has been the school's most exclusive club for 50 years, so when 16-year-old Jericho is asked to pledge, he's excited--and intimidated. He is also disappointed after he realizes that he'll have to give up a music competition because he can't miss a night of the initiation week. When the ceremony turns cruel--with the one girl pledge being singled out for abuse--Jericho begins to have second thoughts. Then the affair turns deadly. There are several problems here. To her credit, Draper offers a story that is profanity free, but this makes the dialogue less credible. It's difficult to imagine teens not using swear words in some of these situations, and the slang used instead often makes conversations sound stilted. The plot is also chock-full, making it hard to focus on everything that's going on, even though Jericho helps center the story. Draper does portray a timely scenario, however, with middle-class African American kids (and others) put into a situation that many young people face: the wish for inclusion butting up against the knowledge of right and wrong. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

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) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
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.<br> <br> 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...<br> <br> 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.
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