That was Then, This is Now

I’ve heard That was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton described as the sequel to The Outsiders, though that’s a fairly misleading statement. While the events of that novel are referenced, and a few characters from it show up briefly, this novel is clearly the story of Bryon, Mark, and Cathy. Hinton masterfully captures the rough lives of these characters born on the poor side of town and fills the story with minor characters so well-drawn that they could each sustain their own novel. While parts of it are a bit dated, the honesty with which Hinton confronts issues of friendship, love, loyalty, drug use, and the concept of family is just as fresh and true today as it was over four decades ago when it was first published. The narrative culminates in some tragic decisions that alter Bryon, Mark, and Cathy’s lives forever and calls into question where exactly the line should be drawn for what is right and what is wrong.

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