Author: S. E. Hinton
What To Read Next: That Was Then, This is Now by S. E. Hinton, Whirligig by Paul Fleischman

S.E. Hinton began writing this novel when she was just 15; The Outsiders was published by the time she was 18. Yes, when she was concerned with writing one of the greatest young adult novels ever, you were worrying about passing your driver's test.

A simple recounting of the plot doesn't do the story justice but here goes: The Outsiders follow two rival gangs, the Greasers and the Socs. The two groups, separated by class, decide to settle their differences via a huge turf war.

More important than the novel's violence (which has caused it to be banned many, many times), is the perspective the story offers. It forces readers to feel like outsiders in a world of rich kids.