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Robert Cormier - Author

About the Author

Robert Cormier (pronounced kor-MEER) lived all his life in Leominster, Massachusetts, a small town in the north-central part of the state, where he grew up as part of a close, warm community of French Canadian immigrants and lived with his wife, Connie, also from Leominster, and where they raised their three daughters and one son—all adults now. They never saw a reason to leave. “There are lots of untold stories right here on Main Street,” Cormier once said.

A newspaper reporter and columnist for 30 years (working for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette and the Fitchburg Sentinel), Cormier was often inspired by news stories. What makes his works unique is his ability to make evil behavior understandable, though, of course, still evil. “I’m very much interested in intimidation,” he told an interviewer from School Library Journal. “And the way people manipulate other people. And the obvious abuse of authority.” All of these themes are evident in his young adult classic and best-known book, The Chocolate War. A 15-year-old fan of Cormier’s told him, “You always write from inside the person.”

In 1974, Cormier published The Chocolate War, the novel that is still a bestseller. Instantly acclaimed, it was also the object of censorship attempts because of its uncompromising realism. In a front-page review in a special children’s issue of The New York Times Book Review, it was described as “masterfully structured and rich in theme,” and it went on to win countless awards and honors, was taught in schools and colleges throughout the world, and was translated into more than a dozen languages. I Am the Cheese followed in 1977 and After the First Death in 1979.

Featured books by Robert Cormier

After the First Death

After the First Death

13+ readers

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/08/2006

On the outskirts of a small American town, a bus-load of young children is being held hostage. The hijackers are a cold and ruthless group, opposed to the secret government agency Inner Delta. At the centre of the battle are three teenagers. Miro is the terrorist with no past and no emotions. Kate is the bus driver, caught up in the nightmare, and Ben is the General's son who must act as a go-between. This is a tense drama, with death being the only escape.

ebook of the month
After the First Death

After the First Death

13+ readers

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/08/2006

In a Nutshell: Psycho-political thriller | Terrorist hijacking | Extremes of patriotism   Unreservedly uncompromising, this gripping, thought-provoking novel raises pertinent questions about trust, sacrifice and the extremes people will go as a result of absolute devotion to a cause, and makes for a relentlessly intense reading experience. The novel opens as teenager Ben awaits the first visit of his US General father since he was used as a pawn - by his father - in a terrorist negotiation that left him dreaming of “screaming children”. These screams belong to the preschoolers who were bound for day camp when their bus was hijacked, trapping teenage driver Kate in a battle between violent terrorists (“No one is free from war until our homeland is free”, they state) and a secret government defence agency known as Inner Delta, for which Ben’s father works. One of the hijackers, Miro, is himself only sixteen, but “he was not a child anymore”; “inflicting death did not bother him”. As the ordeal goes on and negotiations get underway, Kate begins to wonder: “what had made him a monster? This world, his works. Who was guilty, then: the monster or the world that created it?” But, whatever the cause, the terrorists’ actions are monstrous. As the deadline for meeting their demands draws closer, “eager to serve” Ben, with his “air of innocence”, is sent to deliver proof that the terrorists’ leader has been captured, and chaos erupts.While the terrorists are prepared to murder to realise their aims, Ben’s father is so consummately committed to defending his nation that he’s prepared to use his own son as a go-between, and herein lies the moral crux of this complex novel: how far will an individual go in the name of their cause? And, in addition, how might any of us act in such extreme circumstances? Kate, too, finds herself “amazed at her ability to lie, to improvise, to plot and scheme.” While the themes are big, bold and masterfully presented, the impeccably precise writing also makes this a perfect – if harrowing - page-turner. ~ Joanne Owen It is one of The Originals from Penguin - iconic, outspoken, first.  The Originals are the pioneers of fiction for young adults. From political awakening, war and unrequited love to addiction, teenage pregnancy and nuclear holocaust, The Originals confront big issues and articulate difficult truths. The collection includes: The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton, I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith, Postcards from No Man's Land - Aidan Chambers, After the First Death - Robert Cormier, Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty, The Endless Steppe - Esther Hautzig, Buddy - Nigel Hinton, Across the Barricades - Joan Lingard, The Twelfth Day of July - Joan Lingard, No Turning Back - Beverley Naidoo, Z for Zachariah - Richard C. O'Brien, The Wave - Morton Rhue, The Red Pony - John Steinbeck, The Pearl - John Steinbeck, Stone Cold - Robert Swindells.  

ebook of the month

Other books by Robert Cormier

After the First Death

After the First Death

Author: Robert Cormier, Matt Jones Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/08/2016

AFTER THE FIRST DEATH is a brilliantly tense hostage drama, by Robert Cormier, the acclaimed author of THE CHOCOLATE WAR. It is one of The Originals from Penguin - iconic, outspoken, first. On the outskirts of a small American town, a bus-load of young children is being held hostage. The hijackers are a cold and ruthless group, opposed to the secret government agency Inner Delta. At the centre of the battle are three teenagers. Miro is the terrorist with no past and no emotions. Kate is the bus driver, caught up in the nightmare, and Ben is the General's son who must act as a go-between. The Originals are the pioneers of fiction for young adults. From political awakening, war and unrequited love to addiction, teenage pregnancy and nuclear holocaust, The Originals confront big issues and articulate difficult truths. The collection includes: The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton, I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith, Postcards from No Man's Land - Aidan Chambers, After the First Death - Robert Cormier, Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty, The Endless Steppe - Esther Hautzig, Buddy - Nigel Hinton, Across the Barricades - Joan Lingard, The Twelfth Day of July - Joan Lingard, No Turning Back - Beverley Naidoo, Z for Zachariah - Richard C. O'Brien, The Wave - Morton Rhue, The Red Pony - John Steinbeck, The Pearl - John Steinbeck, Stone Cold - Robert Swindells.

The Chocolate War & Beyond the Chocolate War Bind-up

The Chocolate War & Beyond the Chocolate War Bind-up

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/08/2008

The head of Trinity College asks Archie Costello, the leader of The Vigils, a secret society that rules the school, to sell 20,000 boxes of chocolates in the annual fund-raising effort. Archie sees the chance of adding to his power but newcomer, Jerry Renault, refuses to sell them. Enormous mental and physical pressure is put on him but he will not give in - the result is an inevitable, explosive tragedy. The story continues in Beyond the Chocolate War. As the school year closes, many students look forward to leaving but Carter and Obie, leading members of The Vigils, can't contemplate the future until they have destroyed Archie Costello. Robert Cormier's hard-hitting novels make compulsive reading.

Heroes Hardcover educational edition

Heroes Hardcover educational edition

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/03/2007

When Francis Cassavant returns to his home town, his face horribly disfigured during World War II, he is tormented by memories of the conflict. People believe him to be a teenage war hero, not realising that his act of 'heroism' was in fact a suicide attempt. Back home, Francis has a mission to get revenge on the youth leader he idolised, but betrayed him. And he's prepared to do whatever it takes. What are the themes? Heroism, conflict, struggle against evil, guilt, forgiveness, loneliness, loyalty. Teaching points This short novel, with its gripping plot and engaging themes, is accessible to a wide range of abilities. Provides excellent opportunities for exploring structure and narrative viewpoint.

After the First Death

After the First Death

Author: Robert Cormier, Matt Jones Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/08/2006

On the outskirts of a small American town, a bus-load of young children is being held hostage. The hijackers are a cold and ruthless group, opposed to the secret government agency Inner Delta. At the centre of the battle are three teenagers. Miro is the terrorist with no past and no emotions. kate is the bus driver, caught up in the nightmare, and Ben is the General's son who must act as a go-between. A tense drama with death being the only escape.

In The Middle Of The Night

In The Middle Of The Night

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/05/2002

Revenge for a tragedy, a fire twenty-five years ago which killed twenty-two children. Must Denny live forever with his father's fatal mistake? On Hallowe'en years ago, 16-year-old Denny's father was involved in a tragic accident that killed 22 children. And it seems one of those children can't forget. Denny wants to be like other kids his age, but he's not allowed to drive or answer the phone and his family moves so often he's always the new kid in school. Then there are the phone calls: every year, they wake Denny up in the middle of the night. And every year, Denny's father calmly answers. But this year it's different. It's been 25 years since the accident. When Denny defies his parents one afternoon and answers the phone, he finds himself drawn into a highly-charged relationship with the mystery caller, someone who haunts his days and nights and threatens a deadly revenge. In this chilling novel, which examines the consequences of a young man's rebellion against his father's past, Robert Cormier once again shows himself to be a master of suspense.

The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/08/2001

The bestselling controversial novel about corruption and misuse of power in an American boys' school. The headmaster of Trinity College asks Archie Costello, the leader of the Vigils, a secret society that rules the school, to help with the selling of 20,000 boxes of chocolates in the annual fund-raising effort. Archie sees the chance of adding to his power - he is the Assigner, handing out to the boys tasks to be performed if they are to survive in the school. Freshman, Jerry Renault, a newcomer to the corrupt regime, refuses to sell chocolates. Enormous mental and physical pressure is put on him but he will not give in - the result is an inevitable, explosive tragedy.

Heroes A Novel

Heroes A Novel

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/02/2000

Heroes

Heroes

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/06/1999

'What if I told him I am not the hero he thinks I am . . .?' Maimed and disfigured whilst fighting in the World War Two, young Francis Cassavant is returning to his hometown as a hero. But one who must hide both his face and his identity. For his past holds a bitter secret, one which he has vowed to revenge and which he can resolve only through his final, desperate plan: to destroy the man who betrayed him as a boy. Left without a face or a future, but sustained by his deep sense of shame, Francis watches. He thinks of the gun in his duffel bag and waits, alone, for the return of another supposed hero. Praise for Robert Cormier: The Chocolate War 'This is a tour de force and tour de force of realism' - Times The Bumblebee Flies Away 'A novel you are unlikely to forget' - Times

I Have Words to Spend Reflections of a Small-Town Editor

I Have Words to Spend Reflections of a Small-Town Editor

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/01/1999

I am the Cheese

I am the Cheese

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/07/1998

Adam's father is in hospital and Adam has set off to visit him. It's a long, cold journey; as he travels along Adam gets tired and. To take his mind off his exhaustion, he traces the events that led up to his father being taken to hospital. He had testified against government level corruption and the family became the subject of a government-orchestrated protection plan. The journey is a kind of odyssey, a search - through the mysteries of the mind. Adam must unlock the past and really rememberit if he is to survive.

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