I thought I had probably read I Am the Cheese as a kid, but since I didn't have any memory of it, I decided to re-read it. Now I am convinced that I was wrong and didn't read it in the past at all. The premise of the book is that the main character, Adam, is trying to understand the odd events of his childhood.
What is most interesting about I Am the Cheese is its structure. Chapters alternate between three types. In the first type, Adam is making a bicycle trip to find his father. The second type of chapter is told in flashbacks; these unravel Adam's memories from childhood, which sound to the reader like his family had entered a witness protection program. In the third type, Adam is being questioned by a man who seems like a therapist, perhaps under hypnosis.
The novel is highly suspenseful; whenever the reader is about to find something out in one type of chapter, the narrative switches to another type. In books of this structure, I usually find myself skimming the less interesting chapters to get back to what I'm really dying to find out. A strength of I Am the Cheese is that all three formats are so interesting that I never found myself impatient to get back to one or the other.
I enjoyed this gripping young adult novel quite a bit and would recommend it for middle school readers and up. Advanced younger readers might not be able to understand the psychological tension.