One night can change a life forever.
November Nelson has been grieving over the death of her boyfriend Josh Prescott after a pledge stunt gone wrong. Just when she thinks that life can’t get any worse, she discovers that she is pregnant with Josh’s child. She faces the challenge of breaking the news to her mother and the Prescotts. She is faced with the biggest decision that she could ever imagine.
When November finally tells her mother, she is understandably upset. November had plans to attend the Black College Tour and an academic summer program. She also had plans to attend Cornell University. Now, she knows that she has to alter her plans. After an outburst in class, November reveals that she is pregnant. It doesn’t take long for the news to get around school. November must endure whispers and criticism from her fellow students. November and her mother have a discussion about what it will take to take care of a baby. Mrs. Nelson tries to help her daughter see that she has left behind a world of having to worry about homework and washing dinner dishes to the world of motherhood.
She also tries to help November to understand that it will take more than allowance money to support a child. Mrs. Nelson finally tells her daughter, “I don’t sleep at night, November, wondering about the answers to all these questions…honestly, I think it's time that you figure some of this out yourself.” Mrs. Nelson gives November an assignment to go to the store and write down the prices of everything that the baby will need. When November and Jericho, Josh's cousin, look at the prices, they are surprised by the results.
November faces more challenges during the course of her pregnancy. First, the Prescotts want to adopt November’s baby in exchange for financial security. November doesn’t make a decision right away but decides to think matters through. More difficulties arise when Dr. Holland shows concern over November’s high blood pressure. Sunshine is born premature and it is possible that she could face developmental problems. The Prescotts and their lawyer arrive at the hospital within hours after Sunshine’s birth. They bring the papers ready for November to sign and she makes her final decision.
Jericho Prescott has been grieving over the death of his cousin Josh. The pain is more than he can bear and his world is divided into life “before” and “after” Josh. In order to cope, he gives up playing trumpet and decides to go out for the football team. He hopes that the physical pain will suppress his emotional pain. As Jericho faces challenges on the football field, he faces challenges in his love life. His ex-girlfriend Arielle wants a second chance. Meanwhile, Jericho develops feelings for Olivia who is physically different from the pretty and popular girls at school. Despite her size, Olivia is a strong and intelligent young woman. Jericho finally sees Arielle for who she really is. He learns that outer appearances and girls like Arielle are superficial.
November Blues is the sequel to The Battle of Jericho. It is not necessary for readers to read the first book in the Jericho Trilogy in order to understand the plot. The plot is fast paced and well written. The characters are believable especially in the way they speak. The plot was predictable in terms of what November’s decision would be. Sharon M. Draper’s novel often deals with controversial issues such hazing in The Battle of Jericho and teen pregnancy in November Blues. She doesn’t gloss over this subject nor make it glamorous. She presents the situation and shows how the characters deal with it. Some readers may see Mrs. Nelson as unsupportive, but she stands back and allows November to make her own decisions. Teens today live in a stressful world and have to face challenges and make difficult choices everyday. Draper chooses to address these issues through fictional characters that teens can relate to.