That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton

Summary: Bryon and Mark have been best friends since before they can remember; they’re so close that they’re like brothers. But Bryon is moving on, hanging out with girls and growing up, while Mark stays the same. Will growing up mean growing apart? And when Bryon learns about Mark’s secret, will his decision push Mark away for good?

I do not recommend this book for anyone under the age of 11. It should be appropriate, since it’s the same author as The Outsiders, which was appropriate for six graders, but it does feature alcohol, drugs, and fights.

Okay, the way I wrote the summary made the book sound really boring, but the truth is, I had a really hard time putting it down. Hinton has written another amazing book (and if you have not read The Outsiders, read it now. It’s absolutely fantastic, and remains one of my favorite books). I was really upset when I realized that I’d finished it, and that the book was actually over. I didn’t want it to end. And, while the story line doesn’t sound all that interesting, especially for teens and preteens, or anyone wanting something with guns and explosions (and, by the way, there are a few fight scenes), once you pick it up to read it, you can’t put it down. I can’t decide if it’s the way she writes, or the characters that made me want to keep reading, or a combination of the two. Mark and Bryon are two amazing characters, and, even though Mark doesn’t change at all during the book, Bryon did, making for an interesting character. It’s a short book, but Hinton still managed to develop Bryon as the main character. And, even though Mark stays the same, their friendship changes, especially as Bryon grows up.

This book is definitely worth the read. It’s amazing, unforgettable, and just absolutely fantastic.

(If you like it, check out her other book, The Outsiders. I don’t know if she’s published another aside from that, but it stands as one of the best books I’ve ever read, and everyone else whose read it has never had a negative thing to say about it. I definitely recommend picking it up and reading it. If you don’t want to go out and buy it before knowing what it’s about, or at least reading a sample of it, in some versions of That Was Then, This is Now there’s an excerpt from it.)