From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10-When an elite club, The Warriors of Distinction, invites Jericho and his cousin Josh to pledge, the teens look forward to wearing the black silk jacket, going to great parties, and receiving the admiring glances of the other students at their Ohio high school. Even the girl Jericho has a crush on begins to show an interest in him. The initiation process begins rather tamely with the new pledges helping with the Christmas toy drive, but as it progresses, Jericho becomes increasingly uncomfortable with what they are asked to do and the way they treat Dana, the first-ever female pledge. Adopting the group's "All of us or none of us" creed, the 15 inductees decide to continue. In an intense climax, pledging goes tragically wrong and the repercussions are felt throughout the community. Draper has captured the essence of teens caught up in peer pressure who must ultimately live with the results of their actions. Her characters are deeply human and the strong plot mirrors the difficult choices that young people must make as they try to reconcile their need for acceptance with their inner values. Mostly, though, this title is a compelling read that drives home important lessons about making choices.Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-10. The Warriors of Distinction has been the school's most exclusive club for 50 years, so when 16-year-old Jericho is asked to pledge, he's excited--and intimidated. He is also disappointed after he realizes that he'll have to give up a music competition because he can't miss a night of the initiation week. When the ceremony turns cruel--with the one girl pledge being singled out for abuse--Jericho begins to have second thoughts. Then the affair turns deadly. There are several problems here. To her credit, Draper offers a story that is profanity free, but this makes the dialogue less credible. It's difficult to imagine teens not using swear words in some of these situations, and the slang used instead often makes conversations sound stilted. The plot is also chock-full, making it hard to focus on everything that's going on, even though Jericho helps center the story. Draper does portray a timely scenario, however, with middle-class African American kids (and others) put into a situation that many young people face: the wish for inclusion butting up against the knowledge of right and wrong. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved