The Ultimate Guide To Reading S.E Hinton Books In Order

If you’ve had the pleasure of reading S.E Hinton’s books before, then you’ll know that they’re an absolute literary marvel.

Despite being heralded by many fans as the greatest writer of her generation, she still seems to be somewhat underrated in the literary world.

S.E Hinton A Guide For Reading The Books In Order

She is well known for her incredibly gritty and hard-hitting stories that provide readers with ‘a slice of life’.

They deal with working-class people, and the struggles they must encounter in their communities.

About S.E Hinton

It seems that it is only now that people are beginning to appreciate the complexities and nuances of Hinton’s writing.

She recently received something called the ‘Margaret A. Edwards Award’, which honors her great writing career.

This award, however, is particularly special, because it only recognizes authors who have managed to give an authentic voice to young people, and as a result are highly regarded within that age group.

Her books are read widely by teenagers the world over, and have been called frequently, ‘coming of age novels’.

If you want to find out more about S.E Hinton’s books, as well as the best way to read them in order, keep reading below, as we take a closer look.

S.E Hinton Books In Order

The Outsiders

The Outsiders

This Book essentially describes gang violence taking place in Oklahoma and is regarded as Hinton’s best book to date.

It essentially covers two rival gangs called the socs and the greasers.

Our protagonist Ponyboy undergoes several formative experiences throughout the novel that show him that both gangs are the same despite their bloody rivalry.

He seeks to make a change in the community so that there’s no longer any violence between these two oppositional forces.


  • Depiction Of Social Struggles – Hinton provides an incredibly authentic and insightful depiction of the character’s social struggles.
  • Empathetic – Hinton provides an incredibly empathetic portrayal of her characters, and nobody is one-dimensional in the novel.


  • Full Of Angst – If you’re not a big fan of teenage angst, then it’s probably a good idea to steer clear of this novel.
  • Subject To ‘Over-Analysis’ – This book has been analyzed so much throughout time in University classes and in the media, that some readers might feel that all the conflicting theories and heavy themes attached to it draw away from the novel itself.

That Was Then This Is Now

That Was Then, This Is Now

This novel written by Hinton is also highly regarded in the literary world. It tells of two childhood best friends who are very similar whilst growing up.

But, as they enter adulthood, they go in two completely opposite directions.

One goes to University and gets a faithful girlfriend, whilst another falls into drugs and crime.


  • Truthful – Hinton gives a truthful portrayal of how life circumstances can affect people in a negative manner.
  • Powerful – Hinton emphasizes that we always have the power of choice when it comes to our lives.


  • Hard Hitting – Although this isn’t necessarily a con, some readers might find the themes in this novel too hard-hitting.
  • Portrayal Of Race And Gender – Having been written in 1971, some people might find Hinton’s portrayal of race and gender to be problematic.

Rumble Fish

Rumble Fish

Rumble fish tells the story of Rusty James, who wants to be the very best street fighter in his community.

He doesn’t use his brain when it comes to life’s hardships but instead prefers to use his fists.

This eventually gets him into trouble when he ventures into the world outside his small community.


  • The Realities Of Gang Fighting – Hinton shows the unglamorous realities of gang fighting.
  • Dialogue – Hinton does a great job of giving us dialogue which shows us what we need to know about a character, even with no inner monologue to accompany it.


  • Frustrating – It can be a frustrating read, as we see Rusty continually getting himself into difficult situations.
  • Chemistry – There is a lack of chemistry between the two main characters, as it’s not been given enough time to build up throughout the novel.



Tex is a story about a 15 year old boy, and his quest to become the most popular boy in the whole school.

The road is loaded with perils, however, and he gets himself into all manner of troubles, and learns some important life lessons along the way.

This is very much a coming of age story reminiscent of Catcher in the Rye.


  • Coming Of Age – If you’re looking for a good coming of age story, then this one does the job really well.
  • Portrayal Of Working Class – As always, Hinton provides an excellent portrayal of real, working class communities.


  • Second Half – Some readers complained that the second half of the novel takes a turn for the worse.
  • Less Action – There’s far less action going on in this novel than in Hinton’s other novels, which might be a con for some readers.

Some More Stand Alone Novels By Hinton

If you enjoyed the books above, you should check out some other books written by Hinton:

Final Thoughts

To sum up, we would always recommend starting your S. E Hinton reading Journey with The Outsiders, which was the first book published by the author when she was just a teenager herself.

It’s regarded as one of the best novels of all time, with tremendous social impact.

After reading this, we’d recommend following on with That Was Then This Is Now, Rumble Fish, and Tex, all of which were published in succession of one another.

Each of Hinton’s novels can be read as stand alones, so there’s no particular order that readers have to adhere to.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is S.E Hinton Most Famous For?

S.E Hinton is best known for her first book, The Outsiders, which she wrote when she was just a teenager herself.

What Town Is The Outsiders Set In?

The Outsiders is set in Oklahoma, specifically in Tulsa.

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Noah Burton