by Robert Cormier
Stunned by his mother's recent death and appalled by the way his father sleepwalks through life, Jerry Renault, a New England high school student, ponders the poster in his locker--Do I dare disturb the universe?
Part of his universe is Archie Costello, leader of a secret school society "The Vigils" and master of intimidation. Archie himself is intimidated by a cool, ambitious teacher into having The Vigils spearhead the annual fund-raising event--a chocolate sale. When Jerry refuses to be bullied into selling the chocolates, he becomes a hero, but his defiance is a threat to Archie, The Vigils, and the school. In the inevitable showdown, Archie's skill at intimidation turns Jerry from hero to outcast to victim, leaving him alone and terribly vulnerable.