S. E. Hinton Best Books 📚

S. E. Hinton loved reading as a child, and soon she found that the available selection of books she can read was limited.

S. E. Hinton

American Writer

From a book-reading teen to an author of more than ten books with two adapted into films, S. E. Hinton’s books have left a mark on the lives of its readers. She is best known for her brilliant first book, The Outsiders,’ which she wrote at the age of 17. Susan E. Hinton is one of the most popular authors of teen fiction. Here are more of her books; all are set in Oklahoma. She also wrote an Autobiography with two women and some children’s picture books.

S. E. Hinton Best Books

The Outsiders

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton Digital Art
The Outsiders Digital Art

The Outsiders‘ is her most popular book, and it tells the story of gang violence in rural Oklahoma.

The protagonist, Ponyboy, is an intelligent, perspective boy of 15 who was attacked at the start of the novel by a rival gang, the socs. His brothers and friends save him. Later he went to a movie with his friend Johnny where they befriended Soc girls. It was his discussion with one of the socs girls that made him realize that they are all the same since they see the same sunset. Later, the Socs boys attack Ponyboy and Johnny on their way home.

Johnny accidentally kills a Soc, Bob Sheldon, while trying to save Ponyboy. They ran away and hid in a church and saved some kids caught in the church fire. The injuries from the fire kill Johnny, and in anguish, Dallas goes to rob and gets shot. 

The events of the novel cause Ponyboy to reflect on the kind of life he wants to live, and it also motivates him to work for change in his community. He put down his thoughts in an English essay which turns out to be this novel.

That Was Then, This Is Now

Hinton’s second book, published in 1971, is a tale of two friends that were so close they are almost brothers, Bryon and Mark. Yet as the novel progresses, they start drifting apart.  When they get to 16 years, Byron becomes more involved in school and girlfriends, while Mark moves deeper into a career in crime and drugs.

Byron is into girls, but Mark is only interested in making money, yet they still enjoy hustling pool games in Charlie’s Bar. Things got worse when Charlie was killed. Byron is in love with Cathy and has to make the decision of his life when her drug-addicted brother goes missing. Eventually, Bryon had to turn Mark in for drug dealing. 

Rumble Fish 

S. E. Hinton wrote Rumble Fish in 1975. It tells the story of Rusty-James wanting to be just like his big brother, the Motorcycle Boy. He wants to be the toughest street fighter on their side of the city, to keep his cool when things get dangerous, and to laugh when gang members challenge him to fight. Rusty-James isn’t intelligent, so he depends on his fists more often than his brains. Usually, the Motorcycle Boy bails him out when his fists get him into trouble. Then one day, Rusty-James went out of his neighbourhood turf, and his world was shattered by an explosive chain of events. 


Tex‘ published in 1979 by S. E. Hinton is a story of a 15-year-old boy who is thoughtless, daring, easygoing, direct, and a bit foolish. In the book, Tex was angry at his brother for selling his horse, Negrito, to pay bills, and he is in love with the cutest girl in school and wondering if his father cares about him. This gets him into a lot of trouble at school and also helps him grow and put things in perspective. After scaring everyone to death and landing in a hospital, we and him are a little closer to some answers. 

Taming the Star Runner

The classic story of a boy, a horse, and the pursuit of a dream, ‘Taming the Star Runner‘, was written by celebrated novelist S. E. Hinton. With an absent mother and a domineering stepfather, Travis uses his tough-guy exterior to hide his true passion, which is writing.

After a violent confrontation with his stepfather, Travis is sent to live on his uncle’s horse ranch. Being a born-and-bred city kid, he sees it as an exile. Angry and yearning for a connection, Travis befriends Casey, the horse-riding instructor at the ranch, and the untamable horse in her stable: the Star Runner. Travis is hopeful that he has gotten his chance to escape when the offer of a book deal comes through. However, his stepfather was in the way of his dreams.

Hawkes Harbor

The main character of ‘Hawkes Harbor‘, Jamie, survived foreign prisons, smugglers, pirates, gunrunners, and shark attacks. The nuns at the orphanage where he was born were brutal and mean to Jamie and told him constantly that he would end up no good, and he proved them right. Jamie Sommers grew up as an orphan and a bastard, knowing he had no hope of heaven and that he is doomed to a dreadful existence. He also discovers something in the seaside town of Hawkes Harbor that will drive him insane and change his life forever.

Hawkes Harbor‘ is a compelling and dicey new novel by one of America’s most honoured storytellers. Taking to sea, Jamie sought out danger and adventure in exotic ports all over the world as a smuggler, gunrunner-and murderer. And he proved them right. James was conceived in adultery and born in sin, and so was destined to repeat the sins of his parents. At least that was what the nuns told him. 

Big David, Little David

It was her first children’s picture book illustrated by Alan Daniel and published in 1995. It is a comic tale that concerns the young narrator’s confusion when his father and a boy in his class have the same name; little Nick’s puzzlement is compounded when his father leads him to believe that he and the boy in Nick’s class are the same people. 

The Puppy Sister

This was her second book for children, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers and also published in 1995. It tells the fanciful story of a young boy who wishes so strongly for a sibling that his puppy becomes a human sister; the narrative details the difficulties and confusion that arise from the puppy’s transformation.

Then her Autobiography: Great Women Writers by Rita Dove, S.E. Hinton, and Maya Angelou was published in Princeton, NJ, by Hacienda Productions in 1999. It is an autobiographical account of the three authors.


Who is Ponyboy’s favourite brother?

In S. E. Hinton’s first book, ‘The Outsiders,’ the lead character’s narration clearly states that Sodapop is his favourite brother. Ponyboy has two brothers, and his immediate elder one, Sodapop, is his favourite. This is because Sodapop is easygoing, funny, and even-tempered, contrary to the eldest, Darry, who is more strict and hot-headed.

What does Ponyboy realize is the difference between the greasers and the Socs?

When Cherry was discussing with Ponyboy, he realized that the main difference between the Socs and the Greasers is that the Socs are too cool to talk about their emotions. On the other hand, the Greasers feel and talk about their emotions very strongly. 

What are the key differences between a greaser and Socs fashion?

The difference between the greasers and socs in terms of dressing is: Socs wear ski jackets, wine-coloured sweaters, tan-coloured jackets, and striped, checkered, or madras shirts. In comparison, greasers wear blue jeans and T-shirts, leather jackets, and sneakers or boots. Greasers also have long, greased hair and leave their shirttails untucked.

What does Ponyboy mean by he ain’t a Soc, he’s just a guy?

Ponyboy said this about Randy, Bob’s best friend. After realizing that they are all the same teenagers with the same problems in life, Ponyboy decided to address him as not just a soc but as just a guy. He refers to Randy as just like any other random guy you will meet on the street without any label. 

Why did Two-Bit slap Ponyboy?

Two-bit was trying to defend Johnny when he slapped Ponyboy. Ponyboy had, so he verbally attacked Johnny, telling him about his terrible home life. Two-Bit slaps Ponyboy as a response on the side of the head and says if not for his brother Sodapop, he would have beaten him more.

Ugo Juliet
About Ugo Juliet
Ugo Juliet is a passionate lover of books. For over 10 years, she has written books and articles for various organizations. She continues with her passion for literature as an expert analyst on Book Analysis.
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