The Outsiders | book review


Title: The Outsiders
Author: S. E. Hinton
Series: None
Publisher: Viking Press
Publication Date: 1967
Genre(s): Fiction, Young adult

Opening Line:

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.

Welcome to the first book I’ll be reading in my Young Adult Literature class this semester. You guys do not understand how excited I am to finally take this class. Literally all of our assignments are things I already do for fun. We read YA novels on a list and write book reviews of them, we read two additional YA novels and present about them to the class, and for extra credit we can keep a reading journal with our thoughts on everything we’re reading. HOW GREAT DOES THAT SOUND!? I love being an English major.

The Summary

Ponyboy is a fourteen-year-old who lives with his brothers, Darry and Soda. They live on the East Side, marking them as greasers. They’re the kids who are in the middle-class, the hoodrats and delinquents who wear blue jeans and leather jackets. Those who live on the West Side are known as the socials (or socs for short); they have money, good looks, nice cars, and drunken parties. The greasers and socs are constantly at war. One night, somebody takes things too far, and after that, nothing is the same anymore.

The Plot

This is a classic and I’ve been dying to read it for years. I’m not saying I regret it, but it’s certainly not what I was expecting. The best thing about the novel was how unpredictable it was. The synopsis was vague, so I didn’t know what to expect going into it. Once I started, I had no idea how each chapter would progress. I liked not knowing; it made the story more interesting than it actually was. The plot was certainly unique, but it just want my cup of tea.

The Characters

Reading a book in which you dislike the narrator is almost always a bad time. The story is told in first-person by Ponyboy; I was not a fan of him. He seemed whiny and kind of dim. Yes, I know, he’s only 14 and he’s a poor little boy, but something about him just made me dislike him. I enjoyed his character arc, though; you can clearly see his progress, how he comes of age and, by the end of the novel, kind of reaches a state of depression or PTSD. I also loved how his coming-of-age moment was paired with a socs. My favorite character of the novel was Johnny. He was a small, quiet kid who got along with everybody and had a troubled home life. He was so innocent and endearing and I wanted to hug him. I also liked Darry, just because he was different and at 20 years old he literally gave up everything for his brothers. Strange, interesting characters, that’s for sure. They were very developed.

The Writing

S. E. Hinton wrote this book while she was fifteen and sixteen years old. To me, that is an incredible feat, especially with it becoming such a classic staple of teenage literature. I wasn’t a big fan of the writing, though. I know the voice of the novel is 14 years old, so she had to write it the way Ponyboy would, but it just killed me. It seemed so amateur and dull and I wasn’t a fan. I understand, but I don’t like it.

My Rating

3.5 star

Even though this novel didn’t meet my expectations, I’m glad I read it. Another classic added to my list. My reading list for this YA class looks fantastic, so stay tuned for more required literature! Not much time for my own picks…

Favorite Quote(s):

“We’re always going and going and going, and never asking where.”

“Maybe people are younger when they are asleep.”

6 thoughts on “The Outsiders | book review

  1. Surprised this book didn’t meet your expectations. I think I need to re-read it because the last time I read it, I was in fact 14. I also loved Johnny and loved the idea that “nothing gold can stay” (especially now that we’re studying Frost’s other poems in Lit). Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I also loved how he interpreted Frost’s poem! I definitely think people like this book more when they’re younger, but I never read it in high school.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this book when I read it, but I was also thirteen years old. I should probably revisit it , but a part of me doesn’t want to reread it and not love it.


    1. My theory is that if you read it while you’re younger, you’ll like it more. Or maybe I’m just the one weirdo who didn’t like it lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually loved this book! Its also one of the few movies that I enjoyed ALMOST as much as the book itself. Maybe I would feel differently about it if I hadn’t read it as a student, first. Even upon revisiting it as an adult, It spoke to me. Good review, though! Its so hard reading books when you dislike the narrator– that’s why Catcher in the Rye is so awful to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I am probably going to watch the movie soon because I really want to see it. I’ve not read “Catcher in the Rye” yet, but I’ll let you know what I think when I do.

      Liked by 1 person

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