Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Review: The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton (2006 Edition, Penguin Group)

Recommended for ages 12-16

The Outsiders takes place in 1960s Tulsa, Oklahoma, and tells the story of rich kids (Socs) vs. poor kids (Greasers), as seen through the eyes of a 14-year old Greaser, Ponyboy Curtis.
The Greasers are from working-class families. They’re the kids who grease their hair and work at gas stations. The Socs – short for “Socials” – are the preppy kids from white collar families. There has been an increasing unease between the two groups, with kids from both sides being jumped.
Ponyboy, an orphan living with his two older brothers, Darryl and Sodapop; is a dreamer, and his friend Johnny, a 16-year old greaser who has never fully recovered from a savage beating at the hands of the Socs, are attacked by a group of Socs one night, culminating in a murder that sends Johnny and Ponyboy on the run. While in hiding, Ponyboy and Johnny examine their lives and wonder what makes people so different after all.
The Outsiders is a classic, often considered the first YA novel. Written when the author was only 16 years old, she wrote about what she saw lived – Greasers vs. Socs and the divide between haves and have-nots. The voice is an authentic teen’s, which is why it still resonates after 45 years. It is not dated, because the heart of the story is conflict between teens, family, and money-related problems – still very relevant issues today.
Since its first printing in 1967, The Outsiders has won numerous awards and accolades, including inclusion on the New York Herald Tribune Best Teenage Books List (1967); Chicago Tribune Book World Spring Book Festival Honor Book (1967); Media and Methods Maxi Award (1975); ALA Best Young Adult Books (1975), and Massachusetts Children’s Book Award (1979).
Author S.E. Hinton writes realistic novels for teens. Her website offers information about her books, movies made from her books, and a biography. 

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