Ever since I read Outsiders last week, I’ve been trying to get my hands on any S.E Hinton that I can. This is the one that I managed to get a hold of first and even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Outsiders, for a 78 page book, it was pretty immersive.
Told from the perspective of Rusty-James, a high-school aged boy who idolises his brother, nicknamed Motorcycle Boy, we first meet him when he bumps into an old friend. This old friend, Steve, triggers some memories in Rusty-James, and it’s from there that we learn of a series of incidents involving the latter and his brother.
This book followed a similar vein to The Outsiders and encompassed many of the same themes to be found there, such as inner-city life, its challenges, what it looks and feels like for teenagers and how they deal with it. Unlike The Outsiders which was more wide-spanning, this book was quite contained in the fact that it focused on two central characters, making it feel slightly claustrophobic but at the same time more representative of the atmosphere. It gave me the deep chill that reality often does when I’m really seeing it, so in that way it was more realistic than The Outsiders.
A focal point here was identity and how that doesn’t always relate to circumstance. It felt a little surreal at times, but definitely had the desired effect.
One of Hinton’s great strengths is her ability to enter the minds of her characters. Although Rusty-James was a bit of narcissist and Motorcyle-Boy a bit strange, meaning that I couldn’t really connect with them, I still appreciated their understanding of the world.
There’s some tension here. Not a lot, but enough to sustain a mere 78 pages.
Definitely recommended for those of you that enjoy YA fiction that’s a bit gritty.