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The Chocolate War Paperback – September 14, 2004

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; 30 Anv Rep edition (September 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375829873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375829871
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (475 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Does Jerry Renault dare to disturb the universe? You wouldn't think that his refusal to sell chocolates during his school's fundraiser would create such a stir, but it does; it's as if the whole school comes apart at the seams. To some, Jerry is a hero, but to others, he becomes a scapegoat--a target for their pent-up hatred. And Jerry? He's just trying to stand up for what he believes, but perhaps there is no way for him to escape becoming a pawn in this game of control; students are pitted against other students, fighting for honor--or are they fighting for their lives? In 1974, author Robert Cormier dared to disturb our universe when this book was first published. And now, with a new introduction by the celebrated author, The Chocolate War stands ready to shock a new group of teen readers. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"The Chocolate War is masterfully structured and rich in theme; the action is well crafted, well timed, suspenseful; complex ideas develop and unfold with clarity."-The New York Times Book Review

"The characterizations of all the boys are superb...  This novel [is] unique in its uncompromising portrait of human cruelty and conformity."-School Library Journal, starred review

"The novel is cleverly written with a good sense of the realistic and a good ear for dialouge, qualities which will attract any reader."-Bestsellers

"Robert Cormier has written a brilliant novel."-Children's Book Revie Service

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Customer Reviews

Jerry is one the students who refuses to sell the chocolate.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book when I read it and I particularly enjoyed the writing style of Cormier.
Ed Cheung
I did not like the ending of the book and thought it was weak compared to the rest of the book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 148 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 29, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's difficult to review "The Chocolate War" because so much has already been said about it. The painful story of one boy's steadfast refusal to sell chocolates for his high school, and the consequences he faces for such a decision is as brilliant and difficult to read as ever. This isn't to say that the book is difficult to read stylistically. Instead, it's a well written tour de force that slyly invites the reader to know more about the characters, even as the situations described grow worse and worse.
Cormier is to be commended for creating one of the world's first young adult psychological thrillers. Though the end of the book does disintegrate into needless violence, most of this story concerns mental anguishes and locked horns as characters vie for superiority over their fellows without fisticuffs. There's some interest in figuring out who the book's protagonist is too. Our sympathies lie, of course, with poor Jerry Renault. Here's the single man poised to challenge the universe around him. Then there's Archie Costello. Leader of the school's secret society and an interesting portrait of someone both evil and amazingly confident he works his hardest to bring Renault down. Both boys (men?) fight. One for what he believes is right, and the other for his own selfish desires. In the end, it is difficult to accept that the man who has ended up on top is entirely less deserving.
The book's downbeat ending, in which our hero declares that it is never wise to buck the system, has always brought the book under a certain amount of fire. Adults who read this book find themselves trying to shield it from their own kids. Which is, of course, patently ridiculous.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Ed Cheung on May 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, brings you into the life of a young teenager named Jerry Renault. This book not only shows a reader the world of teenage boys; it puts the reader in the shoes of the three main characters. Cormier brings them to life by realistically describing the character's feelings. The unique writing style of Cormier allows readers to truly understand the feelings of each and every character. "I'm getting tired of selling this crap. The kid's probably go the right idea." Trinity, the school where The Chocolate War takes plce, is running its annual ritual of selling chocolates to raise money. Selling the chocolates is supposedly voluntary, but Brother Leon, the assistant head of the school has some other things up his sleeves. When Jerry Renault, a meek freshman of Trinity, and the new kid in school, decides not to sell the chocolates, Brother Leon becomes desperate because he can't get Jerry to sell chocolates. Jerry's defiance is trickling down to other students as well, and when things get out of hand, Leon askes the Vigils, the school gang, for help. For an unknown reason, the number of chocolate boxes and the price of each box are doubled this year. Leon knows that the students will not be particularly excited to sell these chocolates, so he askes the Vigils to step in and urge students to sell more and more chocolates. There are certain 'assignments' that the Vigils give to the students of the school, and if these assignments are not carried out, there are severe consequences. When Jerry decides not to sell the chocolates, the Vigils start assigning things, and everything begins to go wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed this book when I read it and I particularly enjoyed the writing style of Cormier. The way he organized the book, and the way he used descriptive words in every sentence, allowed me to think and feel everything the characters did.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rupert on March 6, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It was almost time for the biggest event of the year at Trinity High School, the chocolate sale. There is one problem, they had to sell twice as many boxes as the past year, and for twice the amount of money. The head of the school, Brother Leon, asks of Archie Costello and the Vigils' help to sell that much chocolate. Archie assures Brother Leon of his support, and agrees to help sell all of the chocolate. The Vigils are a group of students that don't officially exist, although everybody knows they do. They have all of the power in the school, whatever they want to happen, happens. For a strange reason, it is like they have a power over the teachers also. What they mainly do is pick children, usually lower-classmen, to complete one of their assignments. Although Carter, a popular athlete, is the President of the Vigils, the true leader is the Assignor, Archie Costello. Archie is very slick, he is always two steps ahead of everybody he is talking to, and nobody can ever deceive him. The first assignment within the book is assigned to a freshman called Goober. He is assigned to sneak into room nineteen, Brother Eugene's room, when everybody is gone. In his room Goober is to loosen every screw in his room to where it will fall out if anything touches it. Likewise, the assignment is completed. The next morning everybody comes into room nineteen and the disaster occurs. All of the desks collapse, even when a book is placed on one. When Brother Eugene enters the room, he hurries to his desk, and that collapses also. He is a wreck and is never seen again. Of course, Goober feels bad about what he has done. When it is finally time for the chocolate sale, Jerry Renault, another freshman, gets a note in his locker to attend the next Vigil meeting.Read more ›
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