No other writer of young adult fiction in recent times has stirred up more controversy than Cormier, probably because his novels are among the relatively few that combine a frank examination of the values and decisions that trouble adolescents-such as self-respect and peer pressure-with intense conflict, suspense, and unpredictable developments in plot and character.
Cormier’s Characters do not struggle with the typical dating dilemmas and parental pressures that often plague adolescents in young adult fiction. To the contrary, Cormier offers a unique treatment of the dark side of humanity and social institutions. Cormier’s work portrays adolescents who confront evil, corruption, the misuse of power, and the effects of conformity, issues that teenagers too often dismiss as part of the adult world. Cormier’s Characters invariably demonstrate the need to come to terms with these sinister forces and to make important, irreversible decisions as to where they stand.