S. E. Hinton’s first novel, The Outsiders, written when she was only 16, is a consistent staple on the reading shelves of teenagers, who readily identify with Hinton’s portrayal of an "in" and "out" crowd. Dark and gritty, The Outsiders is distinctly realistic and relatable, told from the point of view of Ponyboy Curtis, a fourteen-year-old “Greaser”. At Ponyboy’s school, there are two rival groups – the Greasers, underprivileged street kids, and the Socs, rich and self-indulgent. Ponyboy regularly finds himself in trouble with the Socs, and despite his brothers’, Darry and Sodapop, attempts to protect him, Ponyboy winds up entangled in a fight that ends on a deadly note. Forced to run away, Ponyboy and Johnny, one of his best friends, retreat and hide away, but the respite from their world of division unfortunately does not last long. Hinton’s novel is critically acclaimed, and her male protagonist captures the essence of being on the “outside” and the tribulations of growing up. The Outsiders’s unrelenting view of family dynamics, violence, and the chilling consequences of hard rivalry, remains a honest and forthright account of one boy who learns that in life we must try to "stay gold."