Parents' Guide to

That Was Then, This Is Now

By Monica Wyatt, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Teenagers love the gritty realism of this novel.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 18+


I can't stand Kathy. I can't stand Brian. Disgusting how anybody could ever turn on their family for somebody they just met. Grossed out. In disbelief. I could literally puke. Kathy is whiny and annoying. Brian is the definition of a snake. Mark was just misunderstood and needed some guidance. Don't even bother reading this. Atrocious.
age 2+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (19 ):

Young readers who enjoyed The Outsiders often want to read this one, which contains realistic portrayals of the same tough, wrong-side-of-the-track kids. But while The Outsiders simply exploits pathos, THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW explores more complex ideas only touched on in the earlier book. It's a superior effort, one that even extremely reluctant readers understand and enjoy.

Much like The Outsider, this book examines friendship and loyalty. But in this case, the main character, Bryon, turns in his best friend, Mark, to the police. It's a major transformation for Bryon, who states throughout the book that he hates cops. Unlike Mark, Bryon tires of the constant violence of his neighborhood. He's stunned when he hears the story of a hospitalized boy who refuses to hate his attackers, even though he had tried to help their friend. Bryon begins thinking about the futility of revenge and the cycle of violence it causes.

Book Details

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