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Lori Cranston is always running away.  This time from one of her mother's very touchy feely boyfriends.  She's only fifteen-years-old, and although her face is innocent and childlike, her body is as mature as a woman's.  With her long blonde hair and long lean legs, Lori is used to being hit on by men of all ages --- including her mother's boyfriend.  But all she wants is someone to be tender with her.

Eric Poole is a murderer.  He admitted to killing his mother and stepfather.  What he didn't admit to was killing those three girls ---but there wasn't any evidence, and according to the law, Eric has paid his debt to society.  Now he's eighteen and free.  Free to turn on The Charm and begin again.  Just thinking about those girls with long dark hair and dusky skin makes Eric shake with anticipation.  He needs them to be tender with.

When Eric and Lori meet, there is an instant connection --- not like the one Eric has with his brunette beauties --- but one of remembrance.  They met once before, and now, four years later Lori is fixated on him.  She needs to meet him again and kiss his lips to end her fixation.  But things don't go according to plan.  When they  finally meet face to face, they begin a harrowing journey that will either save or destroy them.  Told from their alternating points of view, this terrifying thriller speeds to its fateful conclusion with an irresistible force.  The final twist will not easily be forgotten and it will chill you.

Disturbing.  Compelling.  Tender.  Robert Cormier's novel TENDERNESS will make you shiver.

Reviewed by Dana Schwartz on October 13, 1998

by Robert Cormier

  • Publication Date: October 13, 1998
  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf
  • ISBN-10: 0440220343
  • ISBN-13: 9780440220343