Category Archives: Voigt Cynthia

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

DATE FINISHED: August 9th, 2012 

RATED: **** (4.5)

SYNOPSIS:  Every year, Trinity High School raises money by recruiting its students to sell chocolates. One year, Jerry Renault says ‘no’. At first, this is on instruction, the result of a unique kind of bullying instigated by a select clique known as The Vigils; but soon Jerry is making a stand of his own – although he is not quite sure why. Warped Vigil mastermind Archie is behind Jerry’s initial refusal, but his power is challenged when Jerry refuses to stand down. Can Archie regain control of the situation; and if not, will Jerry have proven or achieved anything? A war that is much bigger, and much more explosive than a box of chocolates has begun…

THOUGHTS:  The Chocolate War could easily have been a straightforward exercise examining the fears and humiliation of peer pressure, bullying and conformity with a side-order of positivity and the championing of self-esteem, self-belief, self-awareness (etc), but Cormier goes much further in this chillingly human story, full of challenging ideas. Read more of this post

Ceremony of Innocence by James D. Forman

DATE FINISHED: August 31st, 2011

RATED: **

SYNOPSIS:  Hans and Sophie are arrested by the Gestapo after disseminating leaflets they have written denouncing Hitler and Nazi Germany.  Will Hans recant and confess to wrongdoing, or are he and his sister destined to become martyrs for their cause?  Based on a true story.

THOUGHTS:  Perhaps because it is based on the lives of existing historical figures, the characters in this short (young adult?) novel never actually feel very fleshed out or easy to relate to.   Read more of this post