The Outsiders' Impact on YA

Young adult fiction (YA) is immensely popular today, for both teenagers and adults. But the category itself is only very young. S.E. Hinton’s 1967 novel, The Outsiders, is popularly considered the first ever work of YA fiction.

So, what precedent did this novel set for the rest of this category of fiction? What aspects of Hinton’s novel are now staples in YA?

An example is the discussion of weighted and important topics in a manner that is consumable by teenagers (The Outsiders discusses the harsh realities of every day class divisions). Or, like many YA books nowadays, Hinton’s protagonist is characterised as an outcast, or ‘special’ (he even has an unusual name, Ponyboy, something many other YA protagonists have).

Discussing a few YA texts that share similarities with The Outsiders will help to show the aspects of the original text that have become commonplace in the young adult category.

  • You do have themes that seem to have been popular in this particular time and a bit beyond outside of literature too. See the television series The Brady Bunch (c. 1966-69) – J.D. Jankowski 4 years ago
  • The Outsiders is a tremendous book and had a huge influence on many writers and readers. – Sean Gadus 4 years ago

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