I Am the Cheese

Book review by
Monica Wyatt, Common Sense Media
I Am the Cheese Book Poster Image
Story of memory, danger, suspense, and trauma.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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.


Occasional mild to moderate swearing.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKenneth L. January 17, 2017

Gripping psychological thriller

Robert Cormier is a genius. While this is considered a young adult level novel, it does not talk down to readers. Very sophisticated plotting. Fantastic twis... Continue reading
Adult Written byfr0stedshad0w April 9, 2008

Very confusing, yet amazing book!

This is a book that you can't put down. There really isn't anything to fear from it, let your teens read it!
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... Continue reading
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, Brin... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate