About the book: The novel’s protagonist, Jerry Renault, refuses to sell chocolates during his all-male boarding school’s fundraiser. The resulting chain of events reveals a world of gang intimidation and the abuse of power.
Excerpt: “A dozen fists pummeled his body, fingernails tore at this cheek and a finger clawed at his eye. They wanted to blind him. They wanted to kill him. Pain arrived in his groin somebody had kicked him there. The blows rained upon him without mercy, with no let up.”
The controversy: In 2006, the book was challenged, but retained in West Hartford, Conn., schools. The parents of an eighth grader at King Philip Middle School in West Hartford thought the language, sexual content, and violence made the book unsuitable for the age group. It was also challenged in the Wake County, N.C. schools in 2006, deemed “vulgar and sexually explicit language” by parents who received help during the ban from Called2Action, a Christian group that says its mission is to “promote and defend our shared family and social values.”
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