Plot: Three brothers, Ponyboy, Darry, and Sodapop, are trying to survive on their own after their parents’ death. Ponyboy is a member of the Greasers gang and their rivals are the Socs. When leaving a movie theater one night Ponyboy is jumped by the Socs and his older brothers, Darry and Sodapop, save him. However, the next night Ponyboy and his friends meet up with a couple of girls associated with the Socs at the drive-in. They realize that the girls are nothing like the Socs and offer to walk them home, but Bob and Randy from the Socs gang run into them. The girls willingly leave with Bob and Randy to prevent a fight, but when Ponyboy gets home late Darry hits him. So, Ponyboy runs away and meets up with his friend Johnny and things start to go downhill from there.
Review: This is a classic that all tweens should read. A coming of age story for a group of boys trying to survive on their own in a dangerous neighborhood. Two gangs who are rivals are at constant end with each other and even when their friends get hurt of killed they keep going at each others throats. Even though things get worst for Ponyboy when he runs away, he discovers that his brothers really care about him and he tries harder. Hinton’s writing is fluid and mesmerizing, you get pulled into the story and feel for the characters, especially Ponyboy. Overcoming so many hardships and working towards a better life, Ponyboy is a strong-willed character. Step into the shoes of Ponyboy and read The Outsiders.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Reading Level/Interest Level: 5.1/12+
Similar Materials: The Cay, by Theodore Taylor, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger
Reader’s Advisory: I remember reading The Outsiders when I was in the seventh grade, as a class, and then we watch the movie. This is a great book for children to read as a tween, they get a feel for how others grew up and the hardships and struggles they went through when they were the same age. Not to mention the great poem, ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ by Robert Frost, that is mentioned in this book.