Some of the criticism of this novel is that it does not depicit teenagers in a very realistic way. Michael Malone, writing for The Nation in 1986, says, "The heightened language of her young narrators intensifies the glamour and sentiment of their stories, but it will not strike readers as everyday school-locker lingo." His main criticism is that the language is stilted and not very true to life.
However, Ryan Poquette finds the narrative compelling, despite some lingusitic set-backs. Poquette argues, "Hinton’s teenagers face adult situations, make adult decisions, and deal with adult consequences."
The question, therefore, is one of suspension of disbelief. Can you tolerate some perhaps not-exactly-true to life dialogue and get at the larger message within? That is for you to decide.