The Battle of Jericho

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Battle of Jericho Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Provocative story of high school hazing and peer pressure.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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.


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Underage drinking.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byAnonymous Fiend March 3, 2014
I read this book my first year of high school, and I hated every moment of it. First off, the very cover offends my eyes, one, it has Arial font on it. Why? Nex... Continue reading
Adult Written byThe Tiger-Bird May 11, 2010

Any Student Entering High School Should Read This Book

I had to read this book for my english class and it was an easy read. The book had a very good message and it brought a lot of discussions into the classroom.... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byj.reid19 September 12, 2018

Is it really worth the popularity?

At Douglass High School, Jericho, his cousin Josh and his friends Dana and Kofi, decide to pledge for the most popular organization at achool, the Warriors of D... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bythequeenme1 January 13, 2014


dis is natsy

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.


Talk to your kids 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

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