Kid reviews for The Chocolate War

Common Sense says

A kind of "Dangerous Liaisons" for teenagers.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 27 reviews
Teen, 13 years old Written bypumpkinpieswith... January 16, 2021

The Chocolate War

We recently studied this book in our English and Literature class. The book does outline the harsh truths of society and discusses themes like Psychological Manipulation, Conformity, and Violence. However, it's a great book with tons of symbolism, metaphors, and a really well thought-out plot.
I believe it is necessary to allow teenagers to understand the negative aspects of life. The book doesn't convey a wrong moral, it simply emphasizes the sacrifice you need to give to stand with a right moral, in a situation the protagonist is in. Although the book consists of mild sexual content, and swear words are sometimes used in dialogues, I truly believe this is a great work of literature. My classmates agree that the book is extremely relatable to our daily lives, and all those crazy teenage thoughts are something everyone has to live through.
Lastly, I would also like to emphasize that the story itself is a microcosm. It portrays society and authority/power through a school community. I don't think Robert Cormier wrote this book to frighten children and believe in mafias that exist in schools. He's trying to use the example of a secret organization at a school, to paint a picture to us readers of a unsatisfactory but real society.
I was so in love with this book I immediately purchased the sequel, Beyond The Chocolate War.
I think the book just really requires readers who are willing to respect this book and to read it with a mature attitude. The sexual content is extremely mild, there are no detailed descriptions of obscene scenes. Usually it comes in a faint memory or just in a line or two. As for the swear words, to me personally, it doesn't really make me feel uncomfortable, instead it creates a more realistic feel and contributes to the characteristics of the students in the story.
To parents, I think that The Chocolate War really is a book condensed with life lessons and examples of a harsh society (therefore leaving us deep in thought how to become a better person and to create a better society). However, it does require mature readers, so it would be helpful to make sure it is made clear to your children the content this book is going to cover (Before we read the book, we spent time researching on the banning of this book, and so knew right away it was not going to be one of those children's book: fairy tales. Hence, we were better prepared to read it later on). Hopefully this helped :)

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Teen, 16 years old Written byCooltiger37 August 15, 2019

A review of both books (the above ratings are an average of the ones they both get)

THE CHOCOLATE WAR: 5/5 stars, 14+. Yes, it's controversial. Yes, it contains some pretty edgy/shocking content (masturbation, brutal fights, and profanity such as "s--t" are all in stock here, albeit pretty infrequently) Yes, it's not exactly the cheeriest thing around. But seriously, the first "Chocolate War" book is still a darkly superb-or should I say superbly dark-YA classic that every single teen should read at least once. Granted, if you don't like books that are extremely nihilistic or border on psychological horror, maybe skip this one, but otherwise, I highly recommend it.

BEYOND THE CHOCOLATE WAR: 3/5 stars, 16+. It's pretty ironic that the first "Chocolate War" book still gets a lot of flak for apparently containing material that's way too horrific/inappropriate for its intended teen audience, but its infinitely more explicit sequel, "Beyond the Chocolate War" (written more than 10 years after its predecessor), is virtually ignored (maybe this is just because nobody has really heard of it, but still). The profanity isn't any worse, but the sex and violence are much worse. Whereas scenes like these at least served a purpose in the first book as part of its plot or to just show how cruel the kids at Trinity can be (for example, when a Vigil walks in on another student masturbating, he uses a photo of it that turns out to never even exist in the first place to blackmail him into doing his bidding), here, the lengthy, drawn-out scenes involving things such as sexual assault, suicide (including the disturbing preparation of such an act), and extremely violent fantasies just feel gratuitous and mean. Additionally, the book lacks the same focus and nail-biting tension that made the original such a bracing classic (especially since the first volume's protagonist, Jerry Renault, is barely even in it), though I still enjoyed reading it nonetheless just to see what was going to happen at the end. Spoiler alert: as with the first book, it's not exactly pleasant, so if you didn't like that one, well... you DEFINITELY won't like this sequel. However, mature fans of the first book should definitely check it out, if only to see how much more graphic content there is this time around.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Teen, 14 years old Written byjerryoish February 13, 2011

for any readers

I love it. It is a top-notch book. The tone was dismal, bitter and hopeless at the end. But I'm glad to have read a book such as this and I am going to read Beyond The Chocolate War.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byMarbleMilk2456 January 25, 2021

Sad and dark, but well written and realistic *spoiler warning*

A lot of people are saying that the book is too gritty and the ending was too sad, but that's literally the point. It's pointing out the not so good aspects of life and shows the consequences of greed and violence. The Vigils and Brother Leon are especially wicked characters, but that's because they're the antagonists, what do you expect? There are also people saying that it was anticlimactic, but the final fight was one of the most thrilling I've ever read.

Sex: some mention of pornographic magazines and masturbation. Also some talk that seems sexist, but mature teens will pick up on the time period the book was written in.

Violence: nothing too brutal except the climactic fight scene and what proceeds it. It's not graphic, but it is shocking.

Language: minor swearing like damn and crap

consumerism: none

drugs and etc: none

Depends on your maturity, but I think it's a great read 12+

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Sexy stuff
Language
Teen, 14 years old Written bysquishie January 24, 2020

Eye opening book into the struggles of teenagers

I absolutely adored this book. I think that it delved a lot into the struggles of teenage hood. I loved how Robert Cormier didn't shy away from the real challenges of high school. I feel like this book is fine for mature 13 year olds. While this book does talk a lot about more inappropriate girl things, I don't think it is overpowering. This book also curses a LOT. I think, however, that it was a good choice on the authors part to include some of that stuff because it is what actual teenagers talk about and say. I wouldn't let that stuff get in the way of the actual story and theme. I would highly recommend!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Teen, 15 years old Written byChrisChrimson04 January 7, 2020

A Unpleasant Book,With No Genuine Sense

This book comes as a surprise to most children,the name "The Chocolate War" doesn't sound as it seems,this dreadful book is filled with terrible writing upon the Arthur(Robert Cormier).It makes no sense on how this book is based off of a storytelling of a kid(Jerry)(Main Character) starting his freshmen year,getting heavily bullied by not selling chocolates.They use chocolate as if it is some type of drug,when you hear chocolate you her some type of positive outlook,not with this story,it also promotes bullying ,with no type of interfering stoppage from a corrupt teacher.Overall this story has no impact on any children under age 16,the only impact it has is lack of intelligence.So please listen to what i'm saying and don't waste your time reading this book.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byAlyssa Vidali December 17, 2018

Boring....

the way the characters are descirbed is really bad and full of clichés.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Teen, 13 years old Written by23enigg September 2, 2018

A Really Good Read

First off, I think this book is a masterpiece. The ending really does disappoint though, but they do have a sequel, “Beyond the Chocolate War” (if you’re interested). The themes of this book run very deep, but that doesn’t mean you should turn this book down. It’s deals with very physiological issues and is a literacy classic. Definitely recommend.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Teen, 16 years old Written bySadiehalo August 11, 2017

A Very violating and disturbing book that crossed the line as an "exciting good read"...

The book is very vulgar and I do not recommend this for kids younger then 15, I felt very uncomfortable and violated when the book talked about matsturbation and sexual thoughts. The book cussed too much and gave me a distasteful feeling by the end of the book. The book also has alot of bullying and violence.This is not one of the best books I have read and I recommend parents reading the summary and reviews for the book before letting your children read it.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bycommensenseroseh July 22, 2017

Violence but no sex

The Chocolate War is really good, but that's not why you're reading my review. Sexual Content- minor references to masturabtion; a boy talks about a girl's curves non graphically
Violence- a boy gets beaten up very badly
Positive Role Models- you can talk about whether what Jerry did was a good idea or not. Lots of bullies, bully teachers too
Language- some pretty minor swearing, a boy is derogatorally called a fairy
Overall it's your call but it's very good and the biggest issue is the violence
Teen, 17 years old Written bysatyamchouhan June 16, 2016
Teen, 14 years old Written bygreenloversara July 17, 2015
Teen, 13 years old Written byMatan O. June 26, 2015

Good book but too much cursing

This book was really good but could lower downon the cursing. Every page I saw had cursing. Books like this should not not have cursing. It is definently not a kids book and adults might even like it more

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Kid, 12 years old April 18, 2014

Overrated and Disappointing

The plot starts out normally like any other teenager book, with Jerry, the main character going through sexual frustration (what is that?), and mood swings that come with puberty. Then we meet the school bullies: Archie, who does it psychologically, Emlie Janza, who does it physically, and Brother Leon, a teacher. Surely the kids must have told their pare- wait. That never happens. Really? What is it with kids in books these days and not telling their parents their problems? OK, fine. Then Jerry decides to rebel against Archie and Brother Leon by not selling chocolates. Why? Because he wants to, like every single rebellious kid in the world. This part just made me wish he'd get pulverized for being an idiot. At first, all the other kids start to join him too. But, eventually, the kids leave him. Then he get prank calls, violent beatings, taunts and vandalism and he still never tells anybody. Then in the final boxing match, Jerry gets brutally beaten, yet his "friend" does nothing to help him. He could've avoided that by telling ANYBODY to call of the fight. Oh yeah, and they pretty much throw away everything they had building up to this point, not in an anticlimax, but a vague and pointless ending like "The Giver".
Probably the worst part about the book is that it's not even realistic. For starters, how ignorant must the teachers be to not disband the Vigils even though they dismantled an entire freaking classroom, wasted an entire day, and disrupted class hours? And what kind of school allows their teachers to git students on the head? And why do these people not seem to have a life outside of the Vigils or school? This book was meant to be realistic, but it isn't (not unless you still live in the 20th Century).
Ultimately, it's just a teenage angsty book with a bad ending. It's very implausible, littered with cliches, and the characters are the same cop-outs that you see in any other teenager book and just as unrealistic as ever. There's no positive messages OR role models (is being a rebellious brat a good thing?) and little educational value. I'm probably just being really cynical, but I think this book is a waste of an afternoon.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Teen, 15 years old Written byNoah Wibbens November 28, 2012

Incredible!

The Chocolate War is a young-adult novel that is about a freshman football player named Jerry Renault at Trinity High School. As the novel goes on, he learns that high school isn't so cool after all. A spark of rebellion within him ignites after his confrontation with The Vigils, A school Gang lead by Archie Costello. The Vigils create frightful and complex assignments that select students must complete. The assignments vary depending on the individual to inflict the maximum amount of psychologic horror. For example, Jerry's one and only friend known as The Goober was chosen for an assignment. Archie commanded, " Everything in Brother Eugene's room is held together by screws, the chairs, the desks, the black boards, now with your little screw driver- maybe you'd better bring along various and assorted sizes, just in case- you start to loosen. Don't take the screws, just loosen them until they reach that point where their almost ready to fall out, everything hanging their by a thread...". Since The Goober is a loner, he was terrified of getting caught. Jerry also gets an assignment eventually; to turn down selling his quota of chocolates during the school fundraiser. After the task, he changed. I believe the major message that the author was trying to propose was to not succumb to peer-pressure. I would definitely recommend this novel for people 14 and up. I could feel the emotions and intense scenes that made the entire body shiver, like i was a witness. The author chose his vocabulary exactly as a teenager would, it's astonishing how accurate it is! Overall, this is a 5 star novel and should be required to be read in high school.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Kid, 12 years old September 28, 2012

To read this book, you must get over the level of sexual content

This book has been banned in some schools and cities, and i can see why. It has some references to masturbation and dirty fantasies, but honestly that's how our generation is. If you get over that, you can see the true meaning of the book. It's truly about standing up. Jerry is an insignificant underdog, and he decides to disturb the universe and go against the people with the power. He gets persecuted and ignored. In the end, they shut him down. Unlike most books, the protagonist and main character are the ones to lose the fight. The sexual content of this book is just a barrier to the underlying meaning of "the chocolate war"
Kid, 12 years old October 28, 2011

7th grade Banned book review

My class was assigned to read a book from a selection of banned books, and chose this one.
It has a strong message, but is high in sexual content and language, and is also excessively violent.
if you don't want to have to deal with these, or you don't like books that start with a jolt and then slow down to a low pace, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.
Also, there have apparently been many attempts to ban this book. (in fact I think it is banned)

This title contains:

Educational Value
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Teen, 13 years old Written bySithLordBeast April 18, 2011
stupid. many uses of s--t, b--ch, b---ard, h-ll, d-mn, a--, and Jesus and god. a lot of sexual talk also

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Teen, 16 years old Written bybeachcollecting January 1, 2011

Ugly. Evil.

This book could have been a great message about "changing the universe" challenges, but it becomes too violant. Especially the final fiight! Also, the involement of the teacher goes too far. I read it quickly to get thru it.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Educational Value
Teen, 16 years old Written bysummer.rose101 April 11, 2010

11th grade review

I'm 16 years old and I had to read it in my 11th grade class. Obviously our class is fine with the use of language and such, but for younger kids from primary to maybe year 9 this is an inappropriate book. It has frequent sexual terms that younger kids certainly wouldn't understand and their parents may not be happy with the language in the book. Though our class enjoyed reading it as it also had positive messages about standing up to bullies and believing in yourself and not letting others push you around.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff

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