Bittersweet YA novel centering around three brothers raising themselves after their parents were killed, and their friendship with a group of boys from the wrong side of the tracks.
Ponyboy, Sodapop, and Darrel “Darry” Curtis are doing the best they can to avoid being split up into foster homes. Darry had to pass up a scholarship to college in order to work and raise his younger brothers.
They all hang out with a gang of goodhearted but tough boys from the East Side, called “greasers”. They keep having run-ins with some troublemakers from the rich side of town whom they call the “Socs” (for “Socials”), eventually leading to an accidental death which changes the lives of everyone involved.
“Things are rough all over.” –Cherry Valance
Ponyboy serves as the narrator, and as the youngest of the group, we see his 14-year-old viewpoint of their life, friendships, and hopes for the future. It’s a captivating story on its own, but when you realize its author was only 15 when she wrote it, it is even more thought provoking and impressive. In her real life, she was a tomboy and hung out with a group of greasers, but was also friends with more affluent kids, so she could see life from both sides, and was really the voice behind Ponyboy. The story is timeless, and although the names of social groups change over the years, their rivalries continue and are based on the same misunderstandings.
“You still have a lot of time to make yourself be what you want. There’s still lots of good in the world.” –Johnny Cade