Book Review: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders is a book my school assigned me to read earlier in September, so I thought I would review it after finishing it. It follows the perspective of Ponyboy, a 14-year-old boy part of a gang of poorer families on the East side of town known as greasers. The greasers have a rivalry with the West side of town kids, known as the Socs, which is short for socials. The Socs are rich and have nice cars and clothes, which is one of the reasons the greasers despise them. Early in the book, Ponyboy is jumped and beat up by the Socs, and readers are exposed to the violent nature of both groups through jumpings, memories, and fights between the two groups of people, who seem to be polar opposites. Ponyboy is friends with a gang of greasers consisting of his brothers, Sodapop and Darry Curtis, and his friends, Two-Bit Mathews, Dally Winston, Johnny Cade, and Steve Randal. Throughout the book, Ponyboy and the gang get into heaps of trouble, relying on each other for help in the darkest moments of the book. One of these relationships is seen between Johnny and Ponyboy, who have always been best friends and support each other throughout the book. As the plot unfolds and both greasers and Socs are injured or killed, Ponyboy begins to realize the two groups might not be as different as everyone thinks.

I didn’t think much of it at first, but The Outsiders is a very good book. It has emotional moments that impact the characters’ lives in very detailed ways, a very good plot that is easy to follow, and really likeable and dislikeable characters, which makes the book, in a way, feel very alive and real. What makes it so intriguing is that this book is based on real-life events from when the author, S.E. Hinton, was a high schooler in the 90s. In fact, the book was written by her at the age of 15! It makes you wonder how such a good book can come from someone only a year older than me. The Outsiders is full of deep meanings behind everything, and without giving too much away, is pretty sad. The whole idea of two social groups, one poor and one rich, both thinking they are right and the other side is in the wrong, is really interesting and is explored thoroughly by Ponyboy throughout the book.

While it does mention some inappropriate topics for kids 12 and under, such as underage smoking, gang violence, characters from broken homes, and death, I think it should be suitable for anyone 13 or older. For anyone who is looking for a deeper book that still has a great story and characters, I would definitely recommend The Outsiders. That’s all for this review, so I hope you enjoyed it. Happy or reading!

-Brandt D.

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.