Review: That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton

July 2, 2015 4 Stars, Reviews 4

Title: That Was Then, This is Now
Author: S.E. Hinton
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age
Series: None, however several characters from The Outsiders are in this book. :D
Published On: April 1st 1998 (first published 1971)
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 159
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 4 Stars

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Does growing up have to mean growing apart? Since childhood, Bryon and Mark have been as close as brothers. Now things are changing. Bryon's growing up, spending a lot of time with girls, and thinking seriously about who he wants to be. Mark still just lives for the thrill of the moment. The two are growing apart - until Bryon makes a shocking discovery about Mark. Then Bryon faces a terrible decision - one that will change both of their lives forever.

**There maybe might be spoilers… it’s kind of hard to discuss this book without spoilers, so… you’ve been warned.**

I was expecting this book to be emotional, but mostly I was expecting it to make me sad like The Outsiders did. I guess in a way it did make me sad, but it made me more angry than anything, and incredibly annoyed.

“If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.”

Bryon and Mark are best friends, practically brothers, who have been incredibly close since they were kids. And as the summary mentions, in this book, growing up does mean growing apart (and doing stupid impulsive things that you think are right but really just makes things worse) for these boys.

There’s a lot that bothers me with this book. For one, the ‘shocking discovery’ Bryon makes isn’t all that shocking. It was kind of obvious in that I’m-going-to-pretend-I-don’t-know kind of way, because Bryon speculates throughout the book that Mark doing something… not exactly legal. So basically, Bryon makes that discovery and then freaks out and does something that screws up their friendship.

Second, Bryon thinks he’s above everyone. Maybe he’s not 100% aware that he does, but he totally does. And to make it worse, he is annoyed when others seem stuck-up. Throughout the book, it seems like he’s maturing, and he thinks he’s maturing, but I think his final decision shows just how immature he really is.

Bryon was...

Bryon was… difficult to like, to say the least.

Mark is impulsive and lives in the moment, and for these things he is portrayed and viewed as immature and childish, but I think these things don’t strictly define maturity, even though I do believe Mark is immature and doesn’t fully understand things like his own choices, or their consequences.

This book was confusing. Is confusing. And sometimes I feel like I get it, and sometimes I’m just frustrated because I don’t. But I think that’s good, because S.E. Hinton’s goal seems to be to make her readers think and feel something they might not understand… yet (or possibly ever). Something they might not be familiar with.

I wanted to hate this book after the ending, but... well, S.E. Hinton is amazing and so is this book.

I wanted to hate this book after the ending, but… well, S.E. Hinton is amazing and so is this book.

Do I recommend it? Of course. While the characters can be irritating and the plot will probably upset you, it’s well worth it. That Was Then, This is Now is a book you will think about for a while after reading it, just like The Outsiders (a book I read in 7th grade and still often think about), and it will for sure make you think. Especially about what it means to grow up. Plus, there’s some pretty great quotes!



About Jessica

Jessica is an twenty year old blogger who lives in Michigan. She's currently a junior in college. She's a full-time student and part-time employee. She loves to read young adult fiction, especially contemporary, romance, and dystopian. Feel free to drop by and say hi by leaving a comment on one of her blog posts- she'll be sure to reply!

4 Responses to “Review: That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton”

  1. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I was really scared off spoilers so I just read your last paragraph. I don’t mind characters infuriating me too much if the rest of the story is good and I love books that make you think! I shall keep this one on my radar.

    Nice review, hun <33

    • Jessica

      Hey! Sorry it took so long for me to reply! I think this is a book that is more appreciated than ‘liked,’ ya know? Thanks for commenting!

    • Jessica

      Ahaha! The spoilers aren’t too bad, but I think I did hint towards some things. Anyway, this was definitely a book to think about. Thank you! 🙂

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