Throwback Thursday: Tenderness by Robert Cormier


It’s easy to focus on exciting new releases in YA fiction, but there are titles that stand the test of time and are still relevant to today’s readers. Throwback Thursdays highlights those novels with enduring themes and appeal.

It may seem like just yesterday when you read about the disturbing main character in Cormier’s Tenderness, but the current reader who is 16 years old was not even born when this book was published.  Television and books today are populated with crime shows, serial killers, and loads of suspense, but these books have always had an audience.

Lori is looking for tenderness.  Not the kind she receives from her mother’s boyfriends, but true tenderness where someone will notice and care for her.  She hopes to find that tenderness in Eric.  Eric is also looking for tenderness.  This tenderness seems to always be out of reach, except for that fraction of a moment before death.  The death he brings to others.  Eric is finally leaving jail at the age of 18 for killing his parents.  He claims it was self-defense, but Detective Proctor knows better.  He believes that Eric has also killed at least two other girls, but can’t prove it. This novel will keep you filled with anticipation as Lori and Eric’s lives intersect and as Detective Proctor is determined to make sure that Eric will never kill again.

#TBT Tenderness by Robert Cormier, published in 1997  

Readers who enjoy Tenderness can pick up other thought provoking titles by Cormier, such as We All Fall Down, The Rag and Bone Shop, and Heroes.

Hand Tenderness to readers who loved:

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, published in 2012

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, published in 2013

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, published in 2012

— Mariela Siegert, currently reading Terrible Typhoid Mary by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

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Mariela Siegert

Mariela is a School Librarian at Westfield Middle School in Bloomingdale, Illinois. She loves audiobooks, graphic novels, and animals. Her favorite genre is fantasy and her favorite television shows usually contain superheroes. Follow her on Twitter @marris116

One thought on “Throwback Thursday: Tenderness by Robert Cormier”

  1. Loved this post! I am retired now, but my students loved Tenderness and would really enjoy reading all your suggestions, they are all so creepy good!

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