10 Compelling Books Like The Outsiders

Books Like The Outsiders
Books Like The Outsiders

Growing up is difficult and the intensity of those difficulties varies but teenage sure is a turning point in almost everyone’s life. Coming of age stories are one of the most popular types of stories and the reason is they are relatable. The Outsiders is a popular novel by S. E. Hilton. It is about the darker side of young adulthood. The novel deals with adolescence, the feelings and emotions that come with it, the aggressive and dark side of life and the thoughts that are provoked by circumstances in life that teach a lesson.

Here is a list of books like the Outsiders. The list consists of books that have similar elements like coming of age stories, adolescent or teenage characters, characters that are on a turning point of their lives, relationships between friends and how they change with time, dark side of life and the lessons learned along the journey.

A Separate Peace

  • Author: John Knowles
  • Publication Date:

A Separate Peace is a timeless classic that describes the adolescence in a time when the country was losing the innocence to WWII. This book is set at a boy’s boarding school in New England in the early years of WWII. A Separate Peace has a dark side of adolescence with harrowing and luminous details in it. Gene js a lonely, introverted, intellectual guy whereas Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. Because of the changing times and the war that is going on, this book successfully illustrates the story of what happens between these two and how their innocence is lost.

The Hate U Give

  • Author: Angie Thomas
  • Publication Date:

Starr Carter is a 16-year-old girl that attends a fancy suburban prep school and lives in a poor neighborhood. It is difficult for her to balance such different backgrounds but her life takes a sudden turn when her childhood best friend Khalil dies at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. His death becomes a national headline and some people start saying that Khalil was a thug, a drug dealer. Protesters side with Khalil. Some police officers and local drug lords try to intimidate the Carter family as Starr is now the only person alive that can provide any additional information about what happened the night Khalil died.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

  • Author: Erika L. Sánchez
  • Publication Date:

Perfect Mexican daughters are not supposed to be gone away for college and are not supposed to move out of their parents’house after they have graduated high school in order to never abandon their family.

Olga and Julia are two sisters and are opposite of each other. Olga is a seemingly perfect Mexican daughter whereas Julia is not. After a tragic accident, Olga dies and Julia now has to reassemble her family’s shattered pieces. Julia’s mother is no help in the process as she only points out how Julia has failed in every possible way. But soon, Julia finds out that Olga might have been a different person than what she seemed. Her best friend and her boyfriend help her in finding out the truth about Olga.

 Touching Spirit Bear

  • Author: Ben Mikaelson
  • Publication Date:

This is a poignant coming-of-age story by Ben Mikaelson. This is about a boy who must get rid of the effects he has had because of the violence in order to live the life ahead. Cole Matthews finds himself in major trouble after he severely injures Peter in an empty parking lot. Cole is offered to attend circle justice which sends juvenile offenders to Alaskan islands in order to help them change their lives; instead of going to prison. Cole takes that offer, faking humanity as he wants to avoid prison. In Alaska, Cole is attacked by a mysterious bear and is left to die. He thinks about his life, the violence examines his own behavior and thinks about the bear, himself, Peter and his other victims.


  • Author: Jake Coburn
  • Publication Date:

Nick and his friends have the whole Island of Manhattan at their feet including expensive clothes, beautiful apartments and rich friends. But underneath this paradise, lies a gang world that is filled with drinking, drugs, casual sex and graffiti. Nick has had enough of this world. He is also in love with his friend Kris, and Kris has no clue about it. When Kris’s younger brother gets into trouble with a gang, Nick thinks about helping him even if it means that his own life will be at risk.


  • Author: Cynthia Voigt
  • Publication Date:

James Tillerman says “it’s still true” every single morning to his sister, Dicey. The truth that stays true every day is that their mother has abandoned them in a parking lot and now they have to spend the money wisely and spend very little on food and have to find a shelter anywhere the authorities will not bother. The truth about how they need to find their way to Great-aunt Cilla’s house in Bridgeport. The only hope they have left is they can keep moving forward and stay together. Dicey hopes finding someone that will take care of them and someone that can be trustworthy but she also fears it is too much to hope for.

That Was Then, This Is Now

  • Author: S.E. Hinton
  • Publication Date:

This book is by the same author that wrote The Outsiders. It is about two best friends and the bond they share. Bryon and Mark are best friends and the relationship between them through the tensions that develop between them while growing up and grow apart is the main plot of this moving book.

Rumble Fish

  • Author: S.E. Hinton
  • Publication Date:

Rumble Fish is added to the list as it is written by the same author, S. E. Hilton who wrote the Outsiders. This book is about Rusty James that wants to be like his brother, motorcycle boy. Motorcycle boy is tough and is respected by the neighborhood. He uses Rusty to bail himself out of trouble and is always there to watch Rusty’s back. Rusty believes they are inseparable until Rusty’s world falls apart and the motorcycle boy is not there to help him.

The House on Mango Street

  • Author: Sandra Cisneros
  • Publication Date:

This is a story of Esperanza Cordero, who is a Latina girl. She is growing up in Chicago and figuring out herself and her future plans. This is a touching story about childhood and self-discovery, filled with heartbreaking, deeply joyous and nostalgic memories. This book is a masterpiece by Sandra Cisneros.

Catcher in The Rye

Author: J. D. Salinger

Publication Date: July 1951

Catcher in the rye is an odd book for this list as it has no dystopian background or rebellious fight against injustice but it can still be added here as it is about a guy (the protagonist), who finds the world fake in the sense that people are not real. His struggle to be in a world where everyone teaches each other values but when it is time to actually implement those values in their lives, nobody actually does so. His struggle to adjust in a world where he tries to be authentic but the people that are around him are pretending to be someone they are not. He realizes that the world is full of fake, pretentious people that do not care about authenticity or realness and that affects him.