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

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     “He laughed then, and his eyes were like the golden, hard, flat eyes of a jungle animal. ‘Like a friend once said to me, that was then, this is now.’” Mark and Bryon had been inseparable starting from a young age. Despite being unrelated, they considered each other more than just best friends: they were brothers. Little did they know, this wouldn’t last as long as they thought.
     S.E Hinton’s That Was Then, This is Now is a phenomenal YA book. The author writes from the perspective of Bryon, who finds true love for the first time. She adapts his sixteen-year-old tone, his thought process, and his vocabulary. Though he considers himself a “player,” he realizes that Cathy is different from all the other girls. However, his relationship with Mark steadily moves downhill. After someone goes missing, Bryon realizes that he is changing; but Mark isn’t. Mark continues to be reckless and dangerous, as he was in the past. Almost immediately after this realization, the protagonist finds out that Mark is keeping secrets.
     At first glance, the novel seems like just a piece of fiction. However, there are deeper meanings concealed in the story. For example, Bryon learns that he can think about and car for others, not just himself. This is his way of maturing. In addition, the book also teaches that there are consequences to one’s actions. When the boy aggravates the wrong people, he ends up losing someone he is close to. Many regrettable decisions later, he wishes he was a kid again, where he “knew all the answers.”
     S.E. Hinton’s award-winning novel had an unusual reason for being written. Though most authors write about hopes they have, visions they come up with, or to appeal to an audience, she did not do any of these things. Instead, she wrote it as a cure for writer’s block. She forced herself to write a little bit a day, even if she did not want to. In addition, That Was Then, This is Now won the ALA Best Books for Young Adults (1971), the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award (1978), and many other awards.
    Although beautifully written, the book has its flaws. In some parts, it can be bland to read, temporarily losing its hold on the reader. Despite this, however, the book is packed with action as well as suspense, never straying too far from the excitement. Be sure to order a paperback, because you will definitely want to throw the book at the wall, due to highly emotional scenes.




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