Cormier, R. (1974). The chocolate war. NY: Delacorte.
The Chocolate War is a great story about a student, Jerry, deciding to go against the grain and try to stop a corrupted school full of manipulation and intimidation. Jerry is forced to sell chocolates at school, but refuses and a group of thugs called the “Vigils” make his life hell for it. He is beaten up, the football seems to want to kill him, his locker is trashed, and someone continuously prank calls him. He does not want to tell his father for fear that his father will get hurt. At the end of the story, there are only the 50 boxes of chocolate that Jerry was supposed to sell left, and the thugs decide to let people write names oh Jerry and another boy on the wrappers and whoever’s name is drawn gets hit and causes a huge fight. Just when Jerry’s friend, Goober, tried to call for the fight to stop, the lights are turned out and Jerry goes home. This book would be great for middle school students, especially in eighth grade because this is when they start to understand how to manipulate others and football (at least in south Texas) becomes an outlet for anger.