Our class recently read this, so I figured I'd post my review of it here (with a few modifications).
Basically, The Outsiders is about this kid named Ponyboy (weird name, I know. His brother's name is Sodapop.), who is part of a gang called the Greasers (Not a real gang gang, just this group of boys who are best friends and stick together no matter what. They do participate in fights, which they call "rumbles", against their rival group, the "Socs") whose friend kills another dude named Bob(Who is a Soc) (First it's Ponyboy, now it's Bob. At least there's no Fred.) and has to run away. Ponyboy goes with him and they end up saving these kids from a burning church. (Major Spoiler Alert Ahead!) Johnny (His friend.) dies in the end, and then another one of his friends, named Dally, ends up killing himself (Sort Of) because he thinks it's his fault.
First of all, on the plot of the story. It was pretty good. It flowed smoothly and kept me hooked. However, one thing bugged me about it. The author, SE Hinton, claimed that she (Yes, she. More on that later.) wanted to write a realistic story about teenagers and growing up, and she did a pretty good job at that, but I didn't find it very realistic that Johnny, a sixteen year old, was willing to dive into a burning building to save these two random kids he didn't even know. It is, however, much more realistic than the "Mary-Jane-Goes-To-The-Prom" novels of Hinton's time.
Now for the characters. I found them very well written. They all had detailed descriptions at the beginning of the book. It was a little annoying that I had to read through a whole chapter on the characters, but I also enjoyed having the background information before I started the book- it was really helpful to know that before I really got into the story.
I really thought that the About the Author page was the most interesting part of the book. The author wrote the story in high school because she said she "Wanted a realistic story about teenagers and was through with horse books". Authors are better about that now, but it's still hard to find a YA book that includes something other than romance and love triangles (Stop with the love triangles already, people!) She called herself SE Hinton because she didn't want people to know that she was a girl- she figured that people wouldn't want to read a book about teenage boys and gang violence if they knew that it was written by a girl.
Overall Rating: 8/10