Title: November Blues
Author: Sharon Draper
Publication Year: 2009
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Borrowed from the library at school
I’d heard from a couple of the students at my school that this was an excellent book, and I’d used its synopsis for a book talk for an assignment in my library course a couple months ago, so I figured it was finally time for me to read it!
November Blues is narrated by two different people: November and Jericho. November’s boyfriend, Josh, was killed about a month before the novel starts, during a hazing/initiation ritual for a school team. Jericho was his cousin, but they were close like brothers. We find out right from the first chapter that November is now pregnant with Josh’s baby, who we find out was conceived the night before Josh’s death. November now has to try to decide what to do and how to handle her situation while still grieving for Josh, and Jericho is also trying to deal with the loss of his cousin in his own way, even before finding out about the pregnancy.
There’s even more to it than that, including a very interesting commentary on female teenage friendships, loyalties of teenage dating, and the attitudes of teenagers in certain areas towards having children, but it still never really feels like one of those novels where things are being pushed onto you. Draper manages to tell the story in such a way that the characters really speak for themselves and there isn’t much in the way of “tell, don’t show”-style narration. Right from the get-go, you really feel for both November and Jericho as people (as well as a few other people, such as their friend Olivia), and hope that everything will work out for them.
Definitely a book that I would recommend to the students at my school, as it covers some very deep issues while still keeping the vocabulary fairly simple and speaking to kids on their level. An example of this is the language that the characters speak in, a language definitely in line with the speech patterns of inner city students, and not the whitewashed language that is often the norm in these types of books. November Blues was a great read – I didn’t want to put it down!