10+ Books Like the Outsiders | Explore Comparable Narratives

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  • January 10, 2024
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  • 8 min read


SE Hinton’s first book, The Outsiders, came out in 1967 and has attracted readers ever since. Many fans are now looking for more books like it. Hinton wrote The Outsiders when she was only sixteen years old. It is still a favorite among young adult readers, and Francis Ford Coppola made a movie based on it in 1983.

If you liked SE Hinton’s famous book and want to read more, these Outsiders alternatives will make you feel the same way and have similar themes.

A Compilation of 10+ Outsiders Alternatives Books 

Below are some best recommendations of Ghostwriting Founder for the fans of Outsiders:

1- Eleanor and Park:

People who liked Rainbow Rowell’s book The Outsiders will love Eleanor and Park, which came out in 2013.

This well-reviewed book takes place in the 1980s and is about two high school kids, Park Sheridan and Eleanor Douglass.

Park, a 16-year-old from a middle-class family who isn’t too famous, becomes friends with and falls in love with Eleanor. Eleanor is very poor and overweight. She lives with her mother, brothers, and violent husband and is constantly picked on at school.

2- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, published in 2003, might not be the first book that comes to mind when you want to find more books like The Outsiders. However, it is one of the great Outsiders alternatives that readers will enjoy.

The story is told from the point of view of Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy with autism who lives in a London neighborhood. This story is about Christopher, who finds out that his neighbor’s dog has been killed on a garden fork and becomes obsessed with finding out how the dog died.

3- Rumble Fish:

SE Hinton’s 1975 book Rumble Fish is another clear pick if you want to read something like The Outsiders.

The book’s story is about Rusty-James telling an old friend about his early teenage years. Like in Hinton’s other books, Rusty-James is a young boy who lives with his bigger brother in a rough, low-income neighborhood. His parents are not there.

In a way that few other books of the time did, it looked at things like gang life, social standing, and some more serious issues teens face.

Also, Francis Ford Coppola made a movie version of Rumble Fish in 1983. Unlike Hinton’s other books, though, there is no character crossing. Even so, the book has many of the same ideas and storylines, so it’s a great choice to add to your reading list!

4-The Perks of Being a Wallflower:

With its honest portrayal of teens’ problems in high school, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999) is another of the best books ever written for young adults.

This book is told through letters, and it follows Charlie as he starts his first year of high school right after his best friend kills himself. Charlie is shy and lonely after losing his best friend. He starts to open up when he makes friends and ties with a group of students.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, like SE Hinton’s initial work, has sparked debate about issues such as sexual assault, drug use, homosexuality, and mental illness.

5- That was Then, This is Now:

That Was Then, This Is Now, SE Hinton’s second book, came out in 1971 and is a great choice for people who want to read something else after The Outsiders.

This is another coming-of-age story by Hinton. It’s about two young boys, Mark and Bryon, who move in together in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after Mark’s parents die.

While Mark and Bryon are teens living independently, the book examines how their relationship changes as they fight for themselves without parental control.


6- The Catcher in the Rye:

No list of Outsiders alternatives would be complete without JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, arguably the most famous book ever written with a young main character.

Holden Caulfield, a 17-year-old boy who has just been kicked out of a private boarding school, spends a few days in New York City alone before going home to face his parents.

Although Holden is often seen as one of the least likable main characters in literature history, his story still hooks many readers.

7- Speak:

Melinda, a first-year high school student in the film Speak, becomes the object of ridicule and isolation after contacting the authorities to disperse a wild summer gathering.

She has been silent as a coping mechanism after experiencing a terrible occurrence, which is revealed as the story progresses.

Themes of loneliness, self-discovery, and navigating an unfamiliar and sometimes dangerous setting are explored in Speak. One of the Outsiders alternatives depicts the emotional and mental struggles that teens face as they try to communicate their sentiments in a society that doesn’t always acknowledge them.

8- Tricks:

Like The Outsiders, Tricks looks at how kids can get into dangerous and sad situations because of their family problems and financial status.

You have to keep track of five different people and narrators, but the problems they face as they are forced into prostitution are all different. Hopkins writes beautifully, giving people who aren’t heard or seen a chance to speak out.



9- I’m Not Dying with You Tonight:

A conflict at a high school football game turns into a fight. Two girls, one black and one white, must stay together to get through the night.

Like The Outsiders, this book’s plot goes quickly. Due to the delicate subject matter and the extreme dangers its protagonists face, I’m Not Dying with You Tonight is sure to be well-received by vintage Ponyboy and Johnny fans. 


10- The Silence That Binds Us:

May Chen, a writer in high school, often feels like the child who lets down her parents. But when her older brother kills himself, everything changes for her family. 

Like Ponyboy, the main character in The Outsiders, Joanna Ho writes a character with a lot of heart and strong opinions about the world around her. 

The Silence That Binds Us breaks the mold as S. E. Hinton did in her time by writing about things not usually talked about in books for young adults. 

11- Long Way Down:

When his brother is killed, Will is 15 years old. Will is heartbroken and angry; all he wants is his brother back. Since that’s not possible, he’ll settle for payback.

Will gets on the elevator with his brother’s gun to get what he wants, but as it goes down, people keep giving important details about what happened with Will’s brother. 

The elevator stops at several floors along the way. Fans of The Outsiders will enjoy the serious themes and message of hope, and people who don’t usually read poems will still be interested in the stories that can be told in free verse. 

12- We Are Lost and Found:

We Are Lost and Found, similar to The Outsiders, transports readers to a certain era and maintains their presence there the whole time. 

The 1980s, a time in American history that is all too frequently forgotten, are vividly brought to life in this novel, which takes place in New York City during the time. Similar to The Outsiders, this novel looks into the dynamics inside families.



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Key Characteristics and Profound Details

Outsiders Alternatives Author Year
Eleanor And Park Rainbow Rowell 2013
The Curious Incident… Mark Haddon 2003
Rumble Fish SE Hinton 1975
The Perks Of Being… Stephen Chbosky 1999
That Was Then, This Is Now SE Hinton 1971
The Catcher In The Rye JD Salinger
Speak Laurie Halse Anderson 1999
Tricks Ellen Hopkins 2009
I’m Not Dying With You… Kimberly Jones, Gilly Segal 2019
The Silence That Binds Us Joanna Ho 2020
Long Way Down Jason Reynolds 2017
We Are Lost And Found Helene Dunbar 2019



No discussion of the young adult genre would be complete without including The Outsiders. The tense and exciting tale of two opposing factions from different social backgrounds has inspired a love of reading in youngsters for decades.

This Outsiders alternatives collection of twenty books will likely appeal to readers of all ages as they tackle challenging topics. One thing is certain: young readers will not hesitate to pick up these honest, gritty novels if you give them this list.

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