Just Another Hero- Sharon Draper


Just Another Hero (Jericho Trilogy, The)

The Review:

The third book in Draper’s Jericho trilogy, Just Another Hero didn’t quite grab me nearly as much as The Battle of Jericho, and November Blues.  The back of the book immediately tells you that there is going to be an incident involving a gun in the story and for the better part of the book I was waiting for that.  On one hand that was good as it built some sense of suspense.  I kept wanting to turn the page to find the action.  However, after the incident occurs I wish Draper had spent more time examining the aftermath.  How did everyone change due to the experience?  It wasn’t a bad book at all, but I just thought it could have gone a little further.  I’d definitely include this  in my classroom with the rest of the trilogy but I would not teach it as a whole class novel.

As with most of Draper’s books this will appeal to girls and guys alike, urban students, and those in likely 7th grade and up.

The Lowdown (Via Scholastic)

 Interest Level : Grades 9 – 12 (I would include 7-8)

Grade Level Equivalent: 4.8

Includes: Scholastic Reading Counts! Quiz , Accelerated Reader Quiz


Rivals- Daisy Whitney

Review:  I received an advance reader’s copy of Rivals by Daisy Whitney at the NCTE Convention this fall.  This is the sequel to The Mockingbirds and continues to look at the darker side of boarding school.  This book is a little less intense focusing on prescription drug abuse rather than date rape but does not ignore that Alex is still coping with the events that transpired the year before.  This was a great read and was much more of a mystery than The Mockingbirds.

Like its predecessor this is definitely a book written for high school students.  I think it would attract more females than males, but males could get into it as well.  This isn’t a book I’d teach, but I would/will have it in my classroom library.

The Lowdown:

RL: My guess is about 4th grade
Interest Level: High School

Look for this book to hit shelves in early February!!!

How Ya Like Me Now- Brendan Halpin

 Eddie, is a sophomore in high school, who has to move out of the suburbs into Boston when his mom enters rehab.  He has to deal with not only his problems at home, but with entering a new school, and making friends.  His cousin, Alex, is also a central part of this book and provides a look at intelligent, yet underachieving students.  The issues that are dealt with in this novel are problems that more students deal with than perhaps we often consider, and they are dealt with in a non-threatening or “preaching” manner.  I think that this book would be best for students in at least 8th grade and up to 10th.  It is not a challenging book to read, but it deals with issues that are important and could provide fodder for great discussions.





VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers

A Hero Ain’t Nothing But A Sandwich- Alice Childress

Childress’ classic story is written in the vernacular, but some of the slang is dated. Dealing with growing up poor, black, and addicted to drugs is the center of this story. I think this is a book that may appeal the most to young black males from a lower class background. I think this would be an appropriate choice for an 8th or 9th grade classroom. There is also a 1978 film version of this novel.




ALA Best Young Adult Book of 1975

Lewis Carroll Shelf Award

Jane Addams Award for a young adult novel