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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
S. E. Hinton first made her mark in the literary world with The Outsiders, the phenomenal story of Ponyboy, who discovers the magical power of friendship and the alarming power of prejudice. Relying on her own experiences growing up, Hinton tapped into the universal teen emotion of alienation. We relive all of our personal anguish, as Ponyboy struggles to fit in with his Greasers while privately watching sunsets and dreaming of a better life. When he is forced to go into isolation after a fight with a rival, readers empathize both with his desperation and his will to go on. Originally published more than 30 years ago, Hinton's creation still rings true with the youth of today, providing young readers with an escape and a comrade in the one-and-only Ponyboy.
Four years after The Outsiders, Hinton published That Was Then, This Is Now. Covering the same theme of friendship and loyalty, the book recounts the story of two friends facing big decisions as their lives begin to drift apart. While Byron treasures his friendship with childhood buddy Mark, he cannot ignore Mark's drug-induced downward spiral. He eventually turns Mark into the police, breaking ranks with his one-time best friend. Hinton casts this story against a working-class background. With an astoundingly realistic portrayal of drug abuse and its aftermath, she further strengthens her mark as the voice of young adults.
This great volume including both novels is sure to introduce a whole new audience to Hinton's outstanding talent. (Amy Barkat)