The Outsiders

Viking. Apr. 2006. 224p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780142407332.
Gr 7 Up–This novel is narrated by 14-year-old Ponyboy Curtis, a Greaser from a poor neighborhood, who experiences a harrowing and fateful few days. Marked by long, well-oiled hair and a reputation for toughness, the Greasers are harassed by a rival group, the affluent Socs (Socials). Ponyboy, although different from his friends in his enthusiasm for books and school, is fiercely loyal to his group. A clear and forceful message is conveyed to teens—despite life’s hardships, there is still good in the world. This is an ideal book for reluctant readers. Its exciting narrative and simple language will quickly capture their attention. It can also serve as a stimulus for fruitful discussions on the central themes of self-realization, maturation, and seeing people as individuals rather than as stereotypes. Considered by many as the first YA novel, Hinton’s debut delivers a powerful message about class, friendship, and violence. Every student will find a character in these pages who will resonate with them.
VERDICT This timeless classic is as relevant today as it was when it was written. Be sure to have multiple copies in any library that serves middle and high schoolers.

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