Clover Book Club: The Outsiders
The only thing better than reading an amazing book is telling all your friends about it. Our 2017 Clover Book Club is back, and it's better than ever. In addition to giving away free copies (as usual), this year we’re picking readers to hold IRL meetups with friends and then share play-by-play recaps.
Kicking things off are two hosts: Alyson from California and Kasey from West Virginia gathered their pals to reread the special 50th anniversary edition of everyone’s 7th grade fave, The Outsiders. We hadn’t read this book in years, so the two of us also plowed through it, too. We finished it in a single night, but spent much longer talking about it—because that’s how good it is. In fact, it made us want to start an IRL book club, too.
Picking it up again made us realize that it’s one of those novels that gets better with time. Just like Ponyboy’s leather jacket.
Alyson Zetta Williams, 18, California
Having read this book in 7th grade, my book club friends and I found that reading The Outsiders again as seniors was a nostalgic look back at our introduction to school-mandated reading. But it was also great literature that we would not have been introduced to otherwise. (Well, until Clover stepped up, anyway.)
Whenever I am asked about my favorite book, S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders comes to mind almost immediately. I’ve been trying to dissect this for a while now. Is it that "Stay gold" has yet to be replaced as my favorite sign-off, or the romanticism following this wild guy-gang like a rainy cloud over Eeyore?
"I think it's the fact that we were finally reading about ourselves, or reflections of what society thinks of people our age—both in middle school and in high school," said my friend Valerie, who attended my middle school and was taught by the same teachers for 7th grade language arts. And maybe so. Maybe the boys' antics and misfortunes had the relieving effect that reality TV has. We aren't them; we are going to be OK. At the same time, we found connections between ourselves and the characters that were both humbling and inspiring (and not just because my BFF used to call me Two-Bit).
As high schoolers, with hindsight in our artillery, we were able to find themes and connections from the book parallel to our own lives and personalities more so than we did when we were younger. "I don't know if that's a sign of our proficiency in analysis or just us giving up on life," I told my friends after we realized how different this book felt to us after five long years of school. Either way, the consensus stands: Hinton's The Outsiders is something greater than a hit—it's a classic.
Kasey Lemley, 19, West Virginia
Have you ever been assigned a book in school and you instantly hated it because you "had to" read it? That was me with The Outsiders. In 7th grade, we were given this book and since I "had to" read it, I didn't want to. Now I read for the thrill and excitement of a mind-movie (as I like to call them), where your imagination goes free and you can create another world.
I really enjoyed The Outsiders. I read it on my way to work, at the gym, before bed—I could not put this book down. I started to imagine the world and the people S.E. Hinton had dreamed up. For a 50-year-old book, I could still relate; that's why I grew to like it so much.Even though there are differences in the worlds we live in, a lot is still so similar. The only thing I wish was different was the length of the book. If it were longer, I'd love it even more. I just got so wrapped up in the life of Ponyboy that I didn’t want to let go.
But it wasn’t just me who felt this book deeply. All the friends I invited over for an IRL book club loved it, too. One of my pals, Madalyn, said, “It was very easy to become immersed in the world of the Greasers and the Socs, and feel the losses and hardships of the Greasers as hardships of your own. I only wish that the book had been a bit longer because I wasn’t quite ready to leave the world that S.E. Hinton had so successfully created once I reached the end of the novel, but I suppose that is the sign of an excellent book.”
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This post was brought to you by our pals at Penguin Teen. Don’t miss out on the amazingness of The Outsiders (again!). Order it online here.