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I just finished the last book in Sharon Draper’s Battle of Jericho trilogy, Just Another Hero.  It was marketed as the shocking conclusion to the Coretta Scott King honor book Battle of Jericho and November Blues. It was a good book but “thrilling on the edge of the seat” book, well, not exactly.  Don’t get me wrong though – the book is readable and I will recommend the trilogy to students who are looking for something good and quick to read. You can tell that Sharon Draper was a teacher because she is still an educator. The characters are likeable and the story examines contemporary issues affecting teens these days.

Josh’s death still affects everybody. November just had her baby, prematurely. She is learning how tough it is to be a young mother but that won’t stop her from doing the best she can for her newborn. Her drama is more in the background in this book while the drama surrounding Arielle and Kofi’s home life is now front and center. Arielle realizes how important her friends really were last time around is treading on thin ice around them now. She is dealing with a way too controlling wealthy new stepfather who treats her more like something he owns than a family member. Kofi is in a tough situation too.  He is a very smart guy and has been offered a scholarship to MIT but the money or the lack of it has been causing him a lot of stress. He deals with the help of the prescription pain medication, Oxycotin.  Tying everything together is a thief at school and someone is pulling the fire alarm almost on a daily basis. Nobody really is paying much mind to the fire alarms because they think it is just some kid named nicknamed Crazy Jack pulling them because he doesn’t want to take tests. Draper leaves little clues and as you go deeper into the book you realize that the pulling of the fire alarms is much more than just a prank.

The book has both pluses and minuses.  On the plus side you can read this book without reading the other two however you will get more of a feel for the characters if you read these books as a set. If you read this as a stand alone, you will notice that Draper didn’t put that much into character development at least in this book. Reluctant readers will be drawn to this trilogy being that it written that it is written on a lower reading level and has short chapters which are never boring.

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