Before there was Lois Lowry’s The Giver or M. T. Anderson’s Feed, there was Robert Cormier’s I Am the Cheese, a subversive classic that broke new ground for YA literature.
A boy’s search for his father becomes a desperate journey to unlock a secret past. But the past must not be remembered if the boy is to survive. As he searches for the truth that hovers at the edge of his mind, the boy—and readers—arrive at a shattering conclusion.
“An absorbing, even brilliant job. The book is assembled in mosaic fashion: a tiny chip here, a chip there. . . . Everything is related to something else; everything builds and builds to a fearsome climax. . . . [Cormier] has the knack of making horror out of the ordinary, as the masters of suspense know how to do.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A horrifying tale of government corruption, espionage, and counter espionage told by an innocent young victim. . . . The buildup of suspense is terrific.”—School Library Journal, starred review
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Horn Book Fanfare
A Library of Congress Children’s Book of the Year
A Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award Nominee
Imagine discovering that your whole life has been a fiction, your identity altered, and a new family history created. Suddenly nothing is as it once seemed; you can trust no one, maybe not even yourself. It is exactly this revelation that turns 14-year-old Adam Farmer's life upside down. As he tries to ascertain who he really is, Adam encounters a past, present, and future too horrible to contemplate. Suspense builds as the fragments of the story are assembled--a missing father, government corruption, espionage--until the shocking conclusion shatters the fragile mosaic. Young adult readers will easily relate to the shy and confused Adam, whose desperate searching for self resembles a disturbingly exaggerated version of the identity crisis common to the teenage years.
First published in 1977, I Am the Cheese provides an exciting introduction to psychological thrillers. This sensitive, emotional, subtly crafted novel by Robert Cormier (author of The Chocolate War) was a New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year, as well as a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. --Emilie Coulter