Sharon M. Draper captures the life of an average teen through the realest form of unreality exceptionally well. November Blues tells the story of November Nelson and Jericho Prescott after a horrible accident at their school. November Nelson is an average 16-year-old social butterfly in high school; she had a “perfect” life, a devoted boyfriend, a caring mother, and was well on her way with her “perfect” plans after high school, when her life took a turn for the worst. Her father died when she was 10 and now she has to face the reality that Joshua Prescott, her boyfriend, has passed away.
Just when she thinks that life can’t get any worse, she discovers that she is pregnant with Josh’s child. Now “… the best time of her life … all of it screwed up because of this” (Draper 120). 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. Jericho Prescott lost his best friend when he lost his cousin, Josh, and tries so hard to deal with the pain. He finds the only way he can escape the emptiness he feels, is to quit doing the thing that made him happy, playing his beloved trumpet, because it reminds him so much of his cousin.
Jericho finds a new stress-management skill and takes up football, where he hopes the physical pain will kill the sadness. His world starts to come back together when November tells him the news of the baby, but he can’t keep it a secret. November Blues is medium in tone, only because it has happy moments, but many sad moments. The mood changes constantly between November and Jericho’s stories, but deep down inside, they’re both very sad. Of course they are, they both just lost someone that meant a lot to them. However, the news of them baby has everyone on an emotional roller coaster.
No one knows how they feel about this new life that spawned from a miracle. But it’s too late to turn back now and November decides to tackle this situation head-on and full forced. She know her best friend Dana is going to stand by her, she “couldn’t wish for anybody better to have [her] back” (Draper 261). November Blues can be compared to Tears of a Tiger, a similar book by Draper. Both stories are meant for teens and the story of a girl and a boy ending his junior year suffering from the death of a friend is told.
However, Andy Jackson (Tears of a Tiger) and Jericho Prescott (November Blues) each deal with the loss of his best friend in two completely different ways, obviously Jericho is a stronger character than Andy. Similarily, November Nelson (November Blues) and Keisha Montgomery (Tears of a Tiger) suffered, both, from a horrific accident that ended both their boyfriends’ lives. While, they both are lonely, Keisha decides that she’ll fake getting over her ex-boyfriend, Rob, until she is officially over him, and November is surrounded by memories of, Josh to the point where there is no escaping him and all she can do is remember.
Overall, November Blues was real. Even though it proves a point for statistical people, it mirrors common high school drama. The disadvantage of this compelling story is that it is very similar to other book written by Draper. For regular Draper readers, the story in the book could seem too familiar and obvious when compared with Draper’s Hazelwood High Trilogy. Nevertheless, if you are a first time Draper reader, then you’ll find this book to be a addicting read.