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The Chocolate War has been characterized as the most uncompromising novel ever written for young adults, but Tenderness challenges that distinction. Tenderness is the account of the dissolute life of a teenaged girl and the murderous trail of a despicable serial killer. The novel is a scathing view of how America's legal system treats young criminals, as well as how society seems to aid, sometimes even admire, the most vile and evil people.

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