The Outsiders

By S.E. Hinton,

Book cover of The Outsiders

Book description

50 years of an iconic classic! This international bestseller and inspiration for a beloved movie is a heroic story of friendship and belonging.

Cover may vary.

No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he's got things figured out. He knows that he can count…

Shepherd is reader supported.
We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund the project for readers and authors. Please join our membership program to support our endeavor.

Why read it?

12 authors picked The Outsiders as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

While the connection between Ponyboy Curtis and Cherry Valance never goes beyond a simple crush on Ponyboy’s part, I would argue that their connection is memorable, unlikely, and life-changing. The fact that they even find each other and are able to talk as honestly as they do is surprising and heartwarming. In the end, they show each other that their social groups aren’t as different as the others might think—they all have problems and redeeming qualities. Cherry tells Ponyboy that not all Socs are like the ones who beat up Johnny. S.E. Hinton takes the romantic notion one step further…

From Elizabeth's list on YA with unlikely love stories.

I was aware of gangs in schools close to where I lived while growing up.  When I read S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, I was amazed how dangerous they were. Ponyboy, S. E. Hinton’s main character, is fourteen, and hardened by poverty after his parent’s death. He is being raised by his older brothers, Darry and Sodapop. They live in a poor neighborhood and are in a gang because the Socs, a ruthless gang of rich kids who live not too far from them, enjoy calling them greasers and beating them up. But when Ponyboy’s best friend, Johnny, kills…

Confession, I saw the movie first. But I do recall the impact that reading the novel in the mid-eighties (yes, last century) had on me. The simplicity of the language gripped me mostly in how it evoked so much sentiment that resonated with me. That an eighteen-year-old author wrote the novel years before in the sixties blew me away also. I can’t recommend the novel based on the storyline alone (which I forget.)  But I can tell you that in searching for a copy at my library, I had to put a hold on a copy, and I wasn’t at…

From Joe's list on buddies in a bind.

One could argue that S. E. Hinton, at seventeen years old, wrote the book that really created the genre we now know as YA. Her first-person narration through Ponyboy Curtis also began to bend the rigid gender roles many of us felt at the time, whether we knew it or not, coming out of the fifties. Many didn’t realize at first that Ponyboy, a fourteen-year-old greaser, was narrated through the eyes of a seventeen-year-old girl, and that perspective softened the then rigid lines of gender identity. When I used this book in the classroom (as I often did), it was…

After I read The Outsiders for the first time when I was twelve, I fell in love with dark, gritty novels about teenagers dealing with hard issues and events in their lives. The Outsiders is told from the point of view of fourteen-year-old Ponyboy Curtis, an orphan living with his two older brothers in 1960s Tulsa, Oklahoma. All three are “greasers” who, along with their fellow greasers, regularly get into scrapes with a brutal gang known as the “Socs”—rich kids whose life mission is to pound any greaser they can find. Ponyboy is used to the drill of being jumped…

The Outsiders was one of the first novels I read that made me want to be a writer. While this may seem like a classic “wrong side of the tracks,” story, it’s so much more. Brimming with heart, the novel follows teen Ponyboy Curtis, “an outsider,” who struggles with right and wrong—especially after his friend Johnny kills a “soc” (short for socials). While there’d been a long history of fighting between the greasers and the socs, the murder sparks a series of events that changes Ponyboy’s life forever. 

As soon as my children were old enough to appreciate it, I…

Jam-packed with action, emotion, and intrigue, The Outsiders is a story meant to be shared. Set in the 1960s, Ponyboy Curtis must make his mark and prove that he is more than just your average Greaser. He has to show the world that he can make a difference, and anyone who reads this book can say that he changed the lives of many. Ponyboy, with the rest of his gang of Greasers, has to survive the adversity of society while finding himself along the way. It is not easy being an outsider, but the Greasers make the best out of…

If you grow up in Oklahoma The Outsiders is required reading in school. It was one of the few required novels I didn’t hate reading. I could relate to their struggles and feeling like second-class citizens compared to the Socs. It’s still one of my top ten favorite books to this day. I wish that the author gave them some ammo to fight the system and rise above their circumstances. 

From Melanie's list on poor vs. rich.

This book is older than I am, but it never gets old. Focusing on Ponyboy, a kid from the poor section of town, The Outsiders chronicles the conflicts between Ponyboy’s Greasers and the Socs, a gang of rich brats who love to make life even more miserable for the economically challenged. As a kid, I loved how Hinton used different sections of town, what sort of car you drove, how you dressed, and more to illustrate a basic schism in American society. As a writer, I still marvel at Hinton’s mastery of her sprawling cast. If your book has an…

It might not be about football, but The Outsiders shares a common thread with my first recommendation—it’s an honest portrait of life in the Bible Belt and small-town America. Like many, I was assigned this book in junior high. I liked it then, but I was too young to appreciate the fact that the author was just a few years older than me at the time when she wrote it. The youthfulness and angst stuck with me, but as I got older and revisited the book, I saw the bigger picture it painted. I think anyone who wants to delve…

Want books like The Outsiders?

Our community of 7,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like The Outsiders.

Browse books like The Outsiders

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gangs, fugitives, and bildungsroman?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gangs, fugitives, and bildungsroman.

Gangs Explore 15 books about gangs
Fugitives Explore 18 books about fugitives
Bildungsroman Explore 223 books about bildungsroman