Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 650
Eve Bunting’s Someone Is Hiding on Alcatraz Island (1984) features the story of Danny, a San Francisco boy who saves an old woman from a mugger’s attack. Unfortunately, in the process, Danny offends the Outlaws, a gang at his high school. He tries to escape to Alcatraz Island, but the gang follows, and Danny, with the help of a park ranger, must survive on the grounds of the old prison. The book was published in reprint edition in 1994 by Berkley Publishing Group.
The Chocolate War had a very controversial reception when it was first published in 1974. Robert Cormier’s popular and ground-breaking novel features the story of Jerry Renault, a freshman at a Catholic high school, who does the unthinkable when he inspires a movement in refusing to sell chocolates for the school fundraiser, even though his actions eventually provoke the retaliation of the Vigils, the school gang. The book was published in a reprint edition in 1986 by Random House.
Hinton’s The Outsiders (1967), the unexpected smash success that paved the way for grittier young adult novels, including That Was Then, This Is Now, details the struggle between two gangs, the poor greasers and the rich Socs (short for socials). In Hinton’s book, the greasers were the ones who normally got attacked by the Socs, which flipped the standard model of violence on its head. The book was published in a reprint edition by Prentice Hall in 1997.
Hinton’s The Puppy Sister (1995) is technically a children’s book, but, like her young adult novels, Hinton’s book has been enjoyed by people of all ages. The story is pure fantasy and features the tale of a young puppy who does not realize that she is a dog. She decides that she can become a human, and, through sheer will she does, a transformation that involves the whole family. The book was published in a reprint edition by Bantam Books in 1997.
Hinton’s third novel, Rumble Fish (1972), continues to explore the life of street teens, in this case, Rusty-James, who fights with his fists and has always been bailed out by his older brother when his own fists were not enough. Rusty- James’s life is torn apart through a cataclysmic series of events, and for once his brother is not around to save him. The book was published in a reprint edition by Laurel Leaf in 1989.
Hinton’s Taming the Star Runner (1988) deviated from her normal style by using a thirdperson narrator to tell the story of troubled fifteen-year-old Travis Harris, who is sent to his uncle’s Oklahoma ranch as an alternative to juvenile hall. Although Harris is reluctant to adapt to his rural surroundings at first, he eventually develops a relationship with Casey Kincaid, a horse trainer—who is in the process of training the stallion, the Star Runner—and publishes a book about his life. The book was published in a reprint edition by Laurel Leaf in 1989.
Hinton’s books often concern the story of gangs or gang members in young America, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s. Gangs in America III, edited by C. Ronald Huff and published by Sage Publications in 2001, is a popular anthology that collects the most up-to-date information about contemporary gangs and the current law enforcement efforts used to prevent and control gang violence and crime. Through a series of essays, the contributors thoroughly examine how and why young people join gangs, the effects gangs have on communities, and the newest potential solutions.
Paul Zindel’s The Pigman (1968) tells the story of John and Lorraine, high school students who pass the time by playing phone pranks on people. Through one of these pranks, they meet “The Pigman,” a sad widower named Mr. Pignati, who changes their lives forever and gets them to see that their actions have consequences. The book was published in a reprint edition by Bantam Starfire in 1983.