Holy depressing books, Batman: We Need to Talk about Kevin
Holy depressing books, Batman: The Silent Wife

Holy depressing books, Batman: The Chocolate War

Have you read this thing?

Okay, Robert Cormier's classic YA novel The Chocolate War was published before I was born. (God, it's getting rare to be able to say that about a book.) It's often listed on lists of classic books for teens, especially for teen boys, and it's still one of the most challenged books in libraries (it's number 3 on the list of top 100 banned books for 2000-2009). Because I'd heard of it so often, I think I read it somewhere in my mid- or late twenties, and I remembered that I found it interesting...

...but what I didn't remember is this book's ending.

This is all I'm going to say.

The plot is not complicated. Jerry Renault, who attends a private Catholic high school, is singled out by the school's secret society, The Vigils (along with some other students) for an "assignment" (the "assignments" are basically hazing). His assignment? To refuse to sell chocolates as part of the school's fundraising chocolate sale. But when the assignment ends...Jerry does something that no one expects. And at first it has some unexpected effects, but then...well, that's all part of the ending, which I'm not going to tell you.

But I can say this: not often does Mr. CR say "holy shit" (or the equivalent) when finishing a book. Both of us were stunned. It's a great book. It's a crushing book. But is it a book that should really be read by YAs? I just don't know.

What do you think?