The Outsiders

 If you liked The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton,
you might like these books, too . . .

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Ashley, Bernard. Aftershock. London : Frances Lincoln Children’s, 2011.

Makis is an outsider in his new school in England. He starts to find acceptance once people realize his athletic skills. But when he lets down his team at an important game, everyone turns against him again. [Greece; London (England); Mothers and sons; Soccer]




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Collins, P. J. Sarah. What Happened to Serenity? Markham, ON : Red Deer Press, 2011.
Katherine lives in an isolated austere world. Everyone obeys the leader. No one asks questions. Except Katherine. And she is punished but she does not stop questioning and searching until she finds another world outside her bleak community. Set in the Canadian prairies, this story could be compared to many futuristic dystopian novels but has a surprising twist at the end which will leave readers with questions about our present-day world. Who can we trust?  What is more important: safety or independence of thought? What is the role of the media in a free society? An easy-to-read novel, quickly paced, recommended for readers in grade 5 and up. [Courage; Family life; Friendship; Government; Saskatchewan; Science fiction; Values]



Dowd, Siobhan. Bog Child. New York, NY : David Fickling Books, 2008.
In 1981, the height of Ireland’s ‘Troubles,’ eighteen-year-old Fergus is distracted from his upcoming A-level exams by his imprisoned brother’s hunger strike, the stress of being a courier for Sinn Fein, and dreams of a murdered girl whose body he discovered in a bog. — CIP Recommended for competent readers 14-years-old and up.  [Ireland; Terrorism; Murder; Violence; Family life; Young adult fiction]





Doyle Brian. Who is Jesse Flood? New York : Bloomsbury, 2004, c2002. 
Striving to cope with the arguments of his parents and his feelings of not belonging, fourteen-year-old Jesse Flood struggles to find his place in a small town in Northern Ireland. – CIP [Northern Ireland; Identify; Family life]


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Elliott, Zetta. Bird. New York: Lee & Low Books, 2008.
In this picture book, a young African American boy draws the world around him while trying to understand his older brother’s drug addiction. An excellent picture book. Highly recommended for readers 11-years-old and up.  [Brothers; Family life; Drug abuse; Drawing; Novels in verse; Death]

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Ellis, Deborah. True Blue. Toronto : Pajama Press, 2011.
“The darker side of a friendship is portrayed by Jess, a seventeen-year-old who struggles to find the moral courage to remain loyal to her best friend Casey who has been accused of murdering an eight-year-old girl at summer camp. The town becomes a media circus and the pressures far too great for Jess to cope.” – CIP. Recommended for readers in grade eight and up. [Camps; Faith; Friendship; Loyalty; Murder; Peer pressure; Young adult fiction]


Infinite Sky

Flood, C.J. Infinite Sky. New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014, c2013.
“After her mother leaves and her brother and father grow increasingly distant, thirteen-year-old Iris finds solace and friendship in Trick, a fourteen-year-old gypsy boy.” – CIP. A modern-day British version of The Outsiders, told from a female point of view, recommended for readers in grades 8 to 10. [England; Family problems; Friendship; Love stories; Prejudice; Romanies; Violence]


Gantos, Jack. Hole in My Life. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
Unlike his humorous novels for middle school students,  Hole in My Life describes this Newbery winner’s real life as a young adult in prison after getting a job on a boat smuggling drugs from the Virgin Islands to New York City. A Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature Honor Book, this compelling autobiography is for more mature readers due to its realistic portrayal of prison life. [Prisons; Authors; Drug trade; Criminals; Violence; Determination]




Gibbons, Alan. Caught in the Crossfire. Orion Children’s Books, 2003.
Set in England, this suspense-filled novel shows what happens when the brother of a member of The Patriotic League starts secretly seeing a British Muslim girl. Fear, prejudice, pride and violence all combine to create a compelling novel for young adults. [England; Dating; Racism; Faith; Young adult fiction; Teenagers]




Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. London: Faber, 1954.
In this classic tale of adventure, a group of British schoolboys become savages after they are marooned on a tropical island. [Islands; Survival; Young adult fiction]

Hinton, S.E. Rumble Fish.
Hinton, S.E. Taming the Star Runner.
Hinton, S.E. This was Then, This is Now.


Hughes, Dean. Missing in Action. New York : Simon Pulse, 2010.
Jay Thacker’s mother takes him to live in her small home town during World War 2 where most people are hostile because he is part Navajo. They are even more hostile when he befriends a Japanese teenager at a nearby internment camp. And then his mother starts telling him the truth about his father, whose ship has gone down somewhere in the Pacific. What will happen when he can’t run away, anymore? [Racism; Friendship; Grandparents; Faith; Family problems; Young adult fiction; Baseball, World War 2; Japanese Americans; Historical fiction]



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Hyde, Catherine Ryan. Becoming Chloe. Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
[This] is the story of Jordan, [a gay teenager] who lives a lonely life in the streets of New York City. This all changes when he meets Chloe. Chloe, a small blonde girl who has also lived her life in the streets, thinks the world is ugly and full of misery. But when Jordan takes Chloe on a road trip across the country to show her that the world is a wonderful place, they have lots of adventures, make many memories, and Chloe changes her mind. She realizes that the world really is beautiful.  This book entertains, heals your heart, and feeds your soul. I really enjoyed reading it… (Megan in grade eight)




Langan, Paul. Blood is Thicker.
Langan, Paul. Brothers In Arms.
Langan, Paul. Payback.
Langan, Paul. Summer of Secrets.
Short, easy to read novels, part of the Bluford series about American inner city life.




McClintock, Norah. Back. Victoria, B.C. : Orca Soundings, 2009.
After serving time for a violent crime, JoJo returns to the neighborhood and tries to take his life back. — CIP. An easy read, highly recommended for readers 12-years-old and up. A great novel to talk about with a friend. [Dating violence; Criminals; Murder; Revenge; Fear; Young adult fiction]


Autobiography of My Dead Brother

Myers, Walter Dean. Autobiography of My Dead BrotherNew York: HarperTempest, 2006, c2005.

“Jesse pours his heart and soul into his sketchbook to make sense of life in his troubled Harlem neighborhood and the loss of a close friend.” WAFMS. Any book by this author is recommended for the quality of its writing. This story is recommended for mature readers 14-years-old and up. [African-Americans; Drive-by shootings; Friendship; Gangs; New York City]



Myers, Walter Dean.  Lockdown. New York: HarperTeen/Amistad, 2010.
Reese is serving time in juvenile facility after stealing prescription pads from a doctor’s office.  His only escape from violence comes from a work programme that lets him help in a seniors’ home for several hours a week.  This gripping young adult novel, a National Book Award finalist, will be appreciated by mature readers in grade eight and up. [Family problems; Survival; War; African Americans; Old age; Friendship; Juvenile delinquents; Prisons; Violence; New York City; Young adult fiction]



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 Naidoo, Beverley. Web of Lies. New York : Amistad, 2006, c2004. When Nigerian refugee Femi becomes involved with a dangerous gang, he finds himself lying to his family and in danger of legal trouble that could ruin their chances of gaining asylum in England. – CIP [England; Gangs; Nigeria; Refugees]

Alligator Bayou

 Napoli, Donna Jo. Alligator Bayou. New York: Wendy Lamb Books, c2009.

“Fourteen-year-old Calogero Scalise and his Sicilian uncles and cousin live in small-town Louisiana in 1898, when Jim Crow laws rule and anti-immigration sentiment is strong, so despite his attempts to be polite and to follow American customs, disaster dogs his family at every turn.” – WAFMS. All of Napoli’s young adult novels have compelling plot lines, and all Wendy Lamb books are well-written, so you can be sure of the literary quality of this highly recommended novel for readers 12-years-old and up.  [Italian-Americans; Historical fiction; Immigrants; Louisiana; Racism; Uncles]

 Olsen, Sylvia.  Yellow Line. Victoria: Orca, 2005.

In Vince’s small town, the First Nations people and the white people don’t mix. Not until Vince starts dating a girl from the reserve. And everyone seems determined to separate them. A short but powerful ‘Orca Soundings’ novel for readers in grades 8 through 12.  [Bullying; Racism; Prejudice; Courage; First Nations; Love; Canada; Peer pressure; Young adult fiction]


The Car

Paulsen, Gary. The Car. San Diego : Harcourt Brace, c1994.
Fourteen-year-old Terry wakes up one morning to discover that his parents have disappeared, leaving Terry alone in a shabby rented house with only a little over a thousand dollars he has saved up from mowing lawns. Terry sets off, leaving Ohio behind and heading west to find his uncle in Oregon.  But on the way, he meets two Vietnam War veterans who change his view of life.  A young adult novel with some swearing and realistic references to the violence of war, this novel will be appreciated by readers of Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers, Shattered by Eric Walters and Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick. Readers might like to look at the picture book Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers before reading this novel. [Soldiers; Vietnam conflict; Automobiles; Voyages and travels; Young adult fiction]


Paulsen, Gary. The Crossing.
Paulsen, Gary. The Glass Cafe.

Paulsen, Gary. Paintings from the Cave. Wendy Lamb Books, 2011.
Three novellas tell the stories of adolescents who survive despite neglect and abuse, survive with the help of art and dogs. Gary Paulsen writes at the beginning, “I was one of the kids who slipped through the cracks….We were broke, my parents were drunks, they had…an unhappy marriage. I was an outsider at school and I pretty much raised myself at home. I had nothing and I was going nowhere. But then art and dogs saved me” (ix). [Poverty; Homelessness; Art; Dogs; Violence; Short stories; City life; Courage; Hope] Click HERE to read a response from a grade 8 student. 


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Pitcher, Annabel. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 2011.
”With his family still grieving over his sister’s death in a terrorist bombing five years earlier, ten-year-old Jamie is far more interested in his cat, Roger, and his birthday Spider-Man T-shirt, and in keeping his new friend, Sunya, a secret from his father.” – CIP Jamie’s mother has left the family. Jamie’s dad is almost always drunk. How will Jamie and his remaining sister cope? Recommended for readers 10-years-old and up. [Alcoholism; Brothers and sisters; England; Family problems; Grief; Moving (Household); Hope; Racism]



Schmidt, Gary D. Okay for Now. Boston: Clarion Books, 2011.
Fourteen-year-old Doug makes a new friend, Lil, when he starts spending time at the local library, the only place he feels safe from his brother, a Vietnam veteran, and from his abusive father. [Drawing, Fathers and sons; Vietnam War; Violence; Libraries; Friendship; Family life; Schools; Moving (Household); Child abuse]


Schmidt, Gary D. TroubleNew York: Clarion Books, 2008.

“Fourteen-year-old Henry, wishing to honor his brother Franklin’s dying wish, sets out to hike Maine’s Mount Katahdin with his best friend and dog, but fate adds another companion–the Cambodian refugee accused of fatally injuring Franklin–and reveals troubles that predate the accident.” – WAFMS. Recommended for thoughtful competent readers 13-years-old and up.  [Accidents; Cambodian Americans; Death; Dogs; Family life; Massachusetts; Prejudices; Refugees]


Schraff, Anne. Lost and Found.
Schraff, Anne. A Matter of Trust.
Schraff, Anne. Secrets in the Shadows.
Schraff, Anne. Someone to Love Me.
Schraff, Anne. Until We Meet Again.
Short, easy to read novels, part of the Bluford series about American inner city life.




Strasser, Todd. If I Grow Up. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009.
Growing up in the inner-city projects, DeShawn is reluctantly forced into the gang world by circumstances beyond his control. – CIP [City life; Poverty; Gangs; African Americans; Violence; Young adult fiction]





Tullson, Diane. Riley Park. Victoria: Orca, 2009.
The victim of a vicious assault, seventeen-year-old Corbin struggles to get his life back and deal with the loss of his best friend. — CIP [Dating violence; Murder; Gangs; Fear; Friendship; Young adult fiction]



Walton, K.M.  Cracked. Toronto: Simon Pulse, 2012.
Sixteen-year-old Bull and Victor are sent to the same psychiatric ward and meet in a therapy group where they explore the bullying relationship they have had since kindergarten and discover, to their surprise, that they have much in common. [Bullying; Young adult fiction; Hospitals; Family life]

Young, Diane. See No Evil. Victoria: Orca, 2006.
Shawn and his friend Daniel accidentally witness a gang beating behind the local mall and must decide on the best course of action when one of the perpetrators threatens them. – CIP. An easy-to-read short novel.  [Gangs; Schools; Violence; Young adult fiction]

Zindel, Paul. The Pigman.
Zindel, Paul. The Pigman’s Legacy.

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

Zenatti, Valerie. A Bottle in the Gaza Sea. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2008.
“Seventeen-year-old Tal of Jerusalem, dejected over the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, puts her hopes for peace in a bottle and asks her brother, a military nurse in the Gaza Strip, to toss it into the sea.” – CIP.  Soon, she receives an email message from a Palestinian young man and slowly, a friendship develops between them. This young adult novel, which was turned into a movie in 2011, is highly recommended for readers 14-years-old and up. [Gaza Strip; Israel-Arab conflicts; Letters; Toleration]

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