One of my favorite books. I've read it to my son. It's really about the bargains we make with the world. How do we grow up?
Here's the publisher's description for the book A Separate Peace, by John Knowles:
Gene was a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas was a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happened between them at school one summer during the early years of World War II is the subject of A Separate Peace. A great bestseller for over thirty years--one of the most starkly moving parables ever written of the dark forces that brood over the tortured world of adolescence.