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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Outsiders (Teen)

Released March 2009 (Reissue)

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

I cannot name the number of times I read and re-read S.E. Hinton's THE OUTSIDERS as a teenager. It wasn't until adulthood that I learned she'd written the book as a sixteen year old. Today, THE OUTSIDERS is taught in high school. It still grabs the heart of its readers and draws you into the lives of Ponyboy and Johnny.

Fourteen-year-old Ponyboy's being raised by his brothers after their parents die. It's the 1960s and there are two main social classes--Greasers and Socials or Socs for short. Ponyboy and his friends are greasers and often the target of the Socs' prejudices. One night, Ponyboy and his friend Johnny are on their way home when they clash with a group of Socs. Johnny winds up killing a Soc during this scuffle. Fearing the wrath and potential jail time that is to follow, the duo go on the run and readers go along for the emotional journey.

THE OUTSIDERS tackles many issues teens face including bullying and social status. I have to admit that I'm thankful my children's school is so proactive when it comes to preventing bullying. They don't experience half the things I did in elementary, middle and high school in the 1970s and 80s.

It's a powerful read that is hard to put down. If you have the chance, check out the movie adaptation starring some big names including Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze and Diane Lane among others.

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