The Chocolate War
By Robert Cormier
Pantheon Books, 1974. 253 pgs. Young Adult
Trinity, an all-boys school, is ruled by a secret society, the Vigils--a group of ruthless boys who enjoy making other boys complete "assignments." When the school has its annual chocolate sale, the Vigils pledge their support to a teacher, and although it's a secret, the school seems to know. So when freshman Jerry Renault refuses to sell chocolates, he has pitted himself against the Vigils, who are determined not to let anyone undermine their authority.
Although this book is highly acclaimed and many consider it a modern classic, I personally did not enjoy it. It had somewhat of a Lord of the Flies type feel to it, and the cruelty and violence of the Vigils, while believable, was repulsive to me. Even Jerry as the protagonist wasn't very appealing to me; I never really developed any sort of connection to him. However, some readers may find the plot intriguing and get more out of it than I did.