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12 February 2006 @ 02:55 pm
Robert Cormier's BEYOND THE CHOCOLATE WAR (5 stars)  
Sequels usually end up disappointing me. Not the case with Robert Cormier's BEYOND THE CHOCOLATE WAR. He is rapidly earning his spot on the mantle with my other favorite authors, up there with J.D. Salinger, J.K. Rowling, and C.S. Lewis. Although, he may need 2 initials in front of his name to be a permanent member.

He launches us right back into the action with a guillotine on the first page. Actually, it's in the first sentence. And the action never stops. What I love most about his action is its Catholic school, teen angst, secret society tension. Unlike those sequels that die on the vine that the last book grew up on, Cormier's novel utilizes the first semester trials of Archie, Goober, Renault, and others as a strong beginning to a powerful second semester ending.

Not afraid to wrestle with some serious issues that writers in general have bowed away from - Rape, Suicide, Murder, Revenge, Drugs - Cormier tackles them all with a tremendous universality that (like all good fiction - yes, even YA) questions those desires that we find wrapped up within the fabric of our humanity.

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