Laura's Reviews > The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
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Jul 27, 09

bookshelves: ya, boys
Read in January, 2008

A classic young adult novel, The Chocolate War is about high school freshman Jerry Renault and his stand against the society of conformity, and ultimately of cruelty, that is Trinity High School. In this utterly bleak novel, Renault refuses to sell chocolates in the school’s annual chocolate sale. Teachers and students alike bring their powers, social and physical, together to crush Renault for this decision. It sounds like less than it is, but the story carefully examines the sickly disturbing social aspects of high school that are still relevant (and sadly, prevalent) today. What Cromier successfully accomplishes is a very bleak and very straightforward examination of the psychology behind bullies, their followers, and those who cross them. I’ve mentioned the word bleak twice now and there is just no other way to describe this book. It’s an extremely interesting and telling novel, but it’s just so depressing. I’d recommend it for deeper young adult readers who are looking for something to make them think. It goes well, I think, with books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and even Catcher in the Rye, which are both much more positive in the end than this one. I think I would have enjoyed this book when I was younger though. It’s dark and brooding, but then again, so was I at that age…
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