I Am the Cheese



Story of memory, danger, suspense, and trauma.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Three thugs taunt the main character and knock him off his bicycle with their car. Another boy steals the bicycle, and the main character steals it back.


The main character's family is stalked and murdered.

Not applicable

Occasional mild to moderate swearing.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this absorbing story alternates chapters of a boy traveling toward something mysterious, and an interviewer trying to uncover the boy's memories. Despite its complexity, the compelling writing entrances readers.

What's the story?

This strange psychological mystery follows Adam as he bicycles from Massachusetts to Vermont, retracing his past as he uncovers his family's history in the witness protection program. Alternating chapters insert psychological examinations that attempt to uncover Adam's buried memories. The surprise ending reveals just what was real and what was fantasy in this absorbing story.


Is it any good?


Despite the complexity of the story, Robert Cormier sustains the suspense throughout the book, and the alternating chapters of interviews heighten the intrigue. Adam's journey propels the reader forward, and the increasing mystery holds the reader's interest all the way to the final, shocking chapter, which unravels the mystery.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Adam's journey as he tries to unravel the mystery. What are the turning points in his journey? What keeps him on track to put all the puzzle pieces together?

Book details

Author:Robert Cormier
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1977
Number of pages:221
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 14

This review of I Am the Cheese was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byStatlerong December 9, 2008

Dark plot and repulsive characters

The writer barely exposes enough detail to keep the reader going until the last page. Great story, with a very realistic but ugly plot. As the antagonists, Brint and Grey were some of the most repulsive characters ever, with their hidden motives.
Teen, 14 years old Written bymustlovedogs500 June 23, 2012

Not worth the time

This book is not very good. I guess it's kind of an okay read, but it's a little boring, and there are certainly many better reads out there. Try one of those instead. This one just wasn't really worth my time.
Teen, 17 years old Written byeclectica April 9, 2008


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