November Blues

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
November Blues Book Poster Image
Gritty, honest look at teen pregnancy. Teens and up.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 35 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Inspired parents or teachers may want to discuss some of the book's plot. On the author's Web site, readers can find discussion questions to help them delve more deeply into the plot. Teen fans may want to read the other two books in this series.

Positive Messages

This is a realistic portrayal of a teen pregnancy and parenthood, and readers will get a good look at the difficulties November now faces in her life. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

November is surrounded by supportive friends, teachers, and parents. She herself grows through her experience -- she made a mistake, and seriously changed the course of her life, but learns to accept this.

Violence
Sex

The main character is a pregnant teen. References to having unprotected sex, a clinical description of conception, prenatal doctor exams, a childbirth scene, discussion of abortion, a pregnant 12-year-old.

Language

"Hell" and "damn" a few times.

Consumerism

Lots of products and brands mentioned approvingly: foods, soft drinks, candy, electronics, fast food restaurants, clothing, shoes, department stores.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Not glamorized: A character is caught selling drugs to elementary school children, a teacher smells of cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a realistic portrayal of a teen pregnancy and parenthood, and readers will get a good look at the difficulties November now faces in her life. As books about teen pregnancy go, this one is pretty mild -- no sex scenes, and no glossing over the difficulties. There are references to having unprotected sex, a clinical description of conception, prenatal doctor exams, a childbirth scene, discussion of abortion, and a pregnant 12-year-old.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 year old Written byreitabrock October 7, 2009
I think this book is a good book for kids and parents to read because it can tell parents that they can forgive their kids if they do anything bad!! and its a g... Continue reading
Parent of a 2 year old Written bylil mama b November 6, 2009
This is a great book, it teaches young teens that they should have protective sex, because if they dont it will result to pregnancy at a y... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bytayaboo April 9, 2008

i loved this book

this book had me in tears at the end of the bbok b/c i thought sunshine was going to die but she didnt. this book made me think not to have unprotected sex b/c... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byladywidcat44 September 23, 2012

Knowledge

i think this is good for your teens to read. If they are sexually active you should tell them this could happen to them.

What's the story?

In The Battle of Jericho, Josh dies in a hazing accident. Now his girlfriend, 16-year-old November, is pregnant with his baby. The story follows the course of her pregnancy, and of November and her friends coming to terms with Josh's death.

Is it any good?

This sequel to The Battle of Jericho can be read on its own -- it's much better than its predecessor. Author Sharon Draper's attempts at teen dialect are still embarrassingly awkward (she should just delete from her author's lexicon "she's all that and a bag of chips" right now), but they are less intrusive here, and more than balanced by a much more real and believable story.

That story also has a powerful emotional center that the previous book lacked. Draper clearly gets girls much better than boys, and from the moment that November's contractions begin, the web of relationships that has been carefully built up from the start comes to the forefront, and makes the rest of the book breathtakingly moving. The ending is unresolved, which may mean the author plans another book. But even if not, the refusal to tie everything up neatly was still the right way to go.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about this book being part of a series. Did you know that it is the sequel to The Battle of Jericho? Do you plan to read Just Another Hero, which focuses on a despised character from the other two books?

  • What is rewarding about reading a series? What might be fun about writing one? Why are publishers interested in printing them?

  • This book won the Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. This award is given recognize African-American authors and illustrators. Looking at the list of previous winners, are there other books you'd like to read? Why is an award like this important?

  • Does it make any difference to you if a book has won an award? Do you think it makes a difference to schools or libraries, as they make decisions about what to add to the collection?

Book details

For kids who love books about the African-American experience

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