Written when the author was still in high school, this is the story of Ponyboy, a teenage orphan who lives with his two older brothers. Members of the lower class known as the Greasers, Ponyboy and his friends are at constant war with the Socs, who represent the middle and upper classes. When Ponboy's best friend, Johnny, accidentally kills a member of the Socs, the two teenagers go on the run, hiding out until the heat dies down in their hometown. Tragedy strikes, again, however, and Ponyboy must come to terms with the fact that his life has changed forever. First published in 1967, THE OUTSIDERS brought a new tone of realism into the world of young adult literature. By presenting a story almost completely free of adult characters, Hinton reflects the lives of many contemporary teenagers--who view their friends not only as their companions, but also as their family.