Brad Howes opines on S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders:
"I consider The Outsiders to be a young adult masterpiece. The first-person account of Ponyboy Curtis is 'can’t-put-it-down' good. Set in Oklahoma in the 1950’s, The Outsiders provides a look into the life of self-proclaimed Greasers who live on the poor side of town. Though grimy and ill-mannered, the Greasers can be commended for their unity and loyalty to their brotherhood. That brotherhood however, always seems to stir up a conflict with the upper-class Socs. Revenge and spite run through the blood of the Greasers. Ponyboy, with the unfortunate aid of tragedy at points throughout the novel, is learning that revenge doesn’t provide any change of status for the Greasers or the Socs. Greasers will be Greasers and Socs will be Socs. In learning this lesson however, Ponyboy learns much, much more about life and what it means to 'Stay Gold.'
When S.E. Hinton started The Outsiders, she was just fifteen years old. In fact, the novel was a project for her creative writing class. She says that the book is not based on a true story, but simply tells the stories of groups and cliques in communities across America. As far as I am concerned, the book is immortal for this very reason. There will always be feuding classes of kids, whether white/black, poor/rich, nerd/jock/goth...the list goes on. The Outsiders serves as a novel that convinces readers that people on opposing sides must still watch the same sunset."