Sharon M. Draper

November Blues

  • 73-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 50 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
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November Blues Summary & Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 73-page guide for “November Blues” by Sharon M. Draper includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 50 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Self-Forgiveness and Overcoming Guilt and Tragedy and Grief.

Plot Summary

November Blues is a 2007 young adult novel by American writer Sharon M. Draper. The second book in the Jericho Trilogy, it focuses on African-American students at Frederick Douglass High School. The novel’s events unfold in the aftermath of Josh Prescott’s death from a fall from a second-story window during a pledge stunt. As his friends and family begin to cope with their grief, they look for their own ways to overcome their emotional pain. Jericho, Josh’s cousin and best friend, battles not only with the grief but also with feelings of guilt. However, no one is more affected than Josh’s girlfriend, November Nelson, as she finds out she’s pregnant shortly after Josh’s death. Now she must decide how to move forward, as she tries to find a way to be a mother while still being in high school. Exploring themes of grief, self-forgiveness, teenage pregnancy, and friendship, November Blues was followed by the final book in the series, Just Another Hero, which deals with a school shooting. The trilogy is among Draper’s most acclaimed novels, with November Blues being named a 2008 Coretta Scott King Honor Book, as well as being a Young Adult Choice Book from the International Reading Association.

November Blues begins a short time after Josh Prescott’s tragic death, as the school struggles to grasp the circumstances that have led to the accident. November Nelson is still coping with her grief when she has to deal with yet another problem: she finds out that she is pregnant with Josh’s baby. She had been planning to attend the Black College Tour and an academic summer program at Cornell, but now all her plans for the future are on hold. She is worried about her mother’s reaction to the news because she knows that her mother has high expectations of her and her future. Although her mother is upset and disappointed, she ultimately supports November and becomes a role model for her daughter as November learns how to be a mother. Intelligent and diligent, November is determined to avoid dropping out of school, yet she struggles to keep up with her schoolwork. She believes she can graduate and eventually pursue the career of her dreams while being a young, single mother.

The other protagonist of the novel is Jericho Prescott, whose life is also significantly affected by Josh’s death. Guilt-ridden and angry, he feels like his world ended when Josh died. Everything he used to love reminds him of his cousin, especially his hobby of playing the trumpet. He decides to stop playing in the band he’s in and instead joins the football team. Physical activity helps him keep the painful memories of Josh at bay and gives him an outlet for his emotional pain and aggression. Another source of frustration for him is his relationship with Arielle; although Arielle broke up with him shortly after Josh’s death, at the end of the novel, she decides to win him back. At the same time, Jericho becomes close to Olivia, an insightful and kind girl who is frequently bullied for being overweight. Olivia shares Jericho’s passion for music, and the two form a common bond. When Jericho finds out about November’s pregnancy, he strives to support her and the baby, even when it’s emotionally hard for him.

As November tells Josh’s parents about her pregnancy, they act unexpectedly. Instead of wanting to help November raise the child, they hire an influential lawyer and urge November to sign a contract that will allow them to adopt their grandchild once she is born. To manipulate November into signing the contract, they promise to pay all her college fees during all four years of studying. When November goes into labor almost two months early, there are complications during the birth, and both she and the baby are in danger. The baby is placed in the intensive care unit, and no one is sure if she is going to recover. The doctors tell November that the baby might have developmental delays, and hearing this, the Prescotts decide to postpone with the adoption. This makes November very angry, and she tears up the contract, declaring that she will never give her child to people who only want the child if she is healthy. The baby’s health eventually becomes better, and November grows more confident that she can face her new future as a mother.

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Chapters 1-4