The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is the quintessential young adult novel. Written by a young adult Hinton writes the story of Ponyboy Curtis who is a Greaser. The Greasers are a group of boys from the wrong side of the tracks. They act tough, dress alike, and act as a family. The Greasers stand together against the Socs that have plenty of money and respect from the community.
The book has a great dialogue and an interesting story of a kid who is attempting to beat the odds. Ponyboy has a lot to overcome in order to succeed in life, and though he has a tough life he is still caring and loyal to his friends.
The story includes a lot about prejudices and judging people based on how they look or dress. Hinton has a great message for students on how to treat others. Click here for the S.E. Hinton website. It has her bio, books, and ways to contact her.
An interesting book to pair with The Outsiders would be Eragon by Christopher Paolini. The reason I would choose to teach these two books together is because of the fact that the authors were young adults when they wrote the books. Christopher Paolini was fifteen when he started the book Eragon. S. E. Hinton was sixteen when she wrote The Outsiders. I just think this would be a great message for the students to read works of fiction that are published by authors their age. Who knows, they may even be inspired to write a book of their own.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini is a fantasy. It follows a young boy with no future plans excluding taking over the family farm. He is thrown into an epic quest to take down the Empire when, by chance, he acquires a dragon that he calls Sephira. Eragon realizes his destiny to become one of the legendary Dragon Riders and he is taught valuable lessons from the old man in the village named Brom who has a mysteriously vast knowledge of the ancient race.
This is a book that can be enjoyed by basically any student. There is adventure, courage, and friendship.