A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This book helps teen readers examine some of life's hardest questions, posing moral issues in a way that are guaranteed to start conversations.
This book forces readers to face the reality of evil, and examine how to confront it. The effect is powerful and it lingers long after the book is shut and sitting on the shelf.
Positive Role Models
Is Jerry a hero? A scapegoat? Is his act of defiance negative or positive? The dilemma posed by the actions of the characters have good and poor role models. The Vigils order boys to vandalize a classroom and defy teachers. Abully steals gas, and forces a student to buy cigarettes. Brother Leondeliberately embarrasses students, hits one student with a pointer,ignores violence, and encourages the Vigils.
Violence & Scariness
Fight scenes realistically and graphically described.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several frank references to masturbation and to boys' fantasies about girls.
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Conversations between teenage boys contain frequent use of moderate, and occasional extreme, sexual, bathroom, and religiously themed profanity.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Chocolate War remains one of the best books for teens when it comes to examining moral issues. The intensity of emotion will challenge readers to form opinions and engage. It's brilliantly written and examines some serious moral problems that are very age-appropriate and relevant for teens. This is a book for teens who don't require a happy ending with everything tied up in a neat little package.
Is It Any Good?
This difficult read deals with life's cruelty, and deals with complex issues with intensity. Evil in all its ugliness pervades the story, which Robert Cormier sets in a private Catholic school, presenting evil as something that can invade even our own protected lives.
Only a few villains cause all the mayhem, and the book exposes them early. However, Cormier won't spare us from life's nasty truths. Readers might wonder, "Would any of us have done better, or would we make the same easy compromises as Cormier's characters?" For that reason, this book remains relevant: It forces readers to face the reality of evil, and examine how to confront it.
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Our Editors Recommend
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