The Battle of Jericho Book Poster Image

The Battle of Jericho



Provocative story of high school hazing and peer pressure.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Could lead to some interesting discussions about hazing. Parents might want to ask kids what goes on in their own schools and how it compares to this book.

Positive messages

This is a book about hazing, and the problems that come when teens go along with peer pressure and make bad decisions.

Positive role models

It's easy to relate to Jericho's desire to fit in with the popular crowd. His story could be a cautionary tale to young teens about to have to make their own decisions about fitting in and peer pressure.


A gun is waved around and pointed at people, some of the hazing goes too far, a girl is deliberately burned with a red-hot fork, the pledges are paddled. A tragedy occurs near the end.


Innuendo, sexual harassment, a girl takes off her shirt in front of boys.

Not applicable

Brand name products mentioned approvingly by the main character and others.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Underage drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a Coretta Scott King Honor Book about hazing, and includes some bad behavior, including underage drinking, pranks, a gun being waved around, and a final tragedy.  It's easy to relate to Jericho's desire to fit in with the popular crowd. His story could be a cautionary tale to young teens about to have to make their own decisions about fitting in and peer pressure.

What's the story?

The coolest group in Jericho's high school is the Warriors of Distinction -- they wear cool clothes, have great parties, get all the girls, and do the occasional service project. When Jericho is invited to pledge he's surprised and thrilled. He even gets the girl of his dreams. But he's less thrilled with the initiation activities, and with the way the first ever girl pledge is being treated. The activities seem scary and border on abusive. But he's determined to make it and not let his friends down. Then tragedy strikes.

Is it any good?


THE BATTLE OF JERICHO imparts a worthy lesson about going along with peer pressure and making bad choices. But while Draper certainly takes on a timely and compelling issue by examining hazing, readers may find that the plot is secondary to the point. And the dialogue -- with an abundance of exclamation points -- fails to ring true.

This book is part of Draper's series that also includes the stronger installment November Blues, which looks at the life of a pregnant teen.


Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about hazing. How does the presentation of it this book compare with what you've seen at school? Do you think Jericho's story is realistic?

  • The sequel to this book, November Blues, features Jericho's girlfriend. Are you interested in following the story? 

  • What's fun about reading a series? Why do you think publishers may want to print them?

Book details

Author:Sharon M. Draper
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:March 17, 2004
Number of pages:297
Publisher's recommended age(s):12
Award:Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bypeazekeeper95 January 23, 2010
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byBoomhower450 April 9, 2008

A good book for any teen that has ever had peer pressure.

I found this book to show realy how peer pressure affects a teen, anyone who has ever felt peer pressure or even if you haven't this is a great book to read I enjoyed it very much. I hope you will too.
Adult Written byStutsmonkey March 18, 2009

Perfect Highschool Book

Many people think that this book shows unrealistic high-schoolers. That is just the opposite. This book helps explain the peer pressure that every kid deals with and doesn;t have the courage to stand up and speak out about the abuse they are receiving. It also acts the question, what are you willing to do just for people to recognize you? For there are many people out there that think that being stupid makes them popular. This books has many other points and i think it should be read by anyone who thinks that cliques are good in high school.


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