The Outsiders is a candid story told from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy named Ponyboy. Ponyboy is a Greaser, which means he lives on the East side of town, the poor and less respected side. Meanwhile, on the West side of town are the Socs, who are the richer, more privileged kids. Ponyboy is a member of a gang that is like a family to each other. The members of the gang include Darry, Ponyboy’s 20-year-old brother; Sodapop, Ponyboy’s 16-year-old brother; Dally, a tough hoodlum who has been hardened from years on the street (and years in jail); “Two-Bit”, the wise-cracking jokester of the group; Steve Randall, who is Sodapop’s best friend; and finally Johnny Cade, who is Ponyboy’s best friend and is the most timid member of the group. He’s been beat up by his parents and Socs many times, but he doesn’t let himself become hardened like Dally. There is a constant, ongoing war between the Socs and the Greasers in this book, but many other things happen in the book as well. The Socs are portrayed as mean teenagers that like to beat up Greasers for fun, although not all are like that. Ponyboy meets a girl Soc named Cherry Valance who changes his whole perspective of the West-side kids. But one day someone takes things too far in the Soc vs. Greaser war, and Ponyboy and Johnny get stuck in the middle of it all. Then there is a rumble between the East side and West side that is supposedly going to settle things once and for all between the Greasers and the Socs. I loved reading The Outsiders because the characters are easy to become attached to and it is written from the honest point of view of Ponyboy, who is not like the other Greasers. Also, the storyline moves at a good pace, not too fast and not too slow. Although I liked this book, I felt like there were things that should have been resolved at the end that weren’t. Besides that, I suggest this book for ages 11 and up.

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