Kid reviews for That Was Then, This Is Now

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Common Sense says

age 13+

Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 11+

Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 28 reviews

age 13+

Dark, gritty book is best for mature teens.

That Was Then, This is Now is another excellent book written by the author of The Outsiders. It is grim, intense, and painfully realistic, a story of troubled childhood, warped society, and the loss of innocence. As the characters navigate the uneven ground of adolescence, one question pervades the story - can anything be like it used to be? Bryon and Mark have been as close as brothers their whole lives, and it seems that their bond will never break. But as they grow older, their lives begin to diverge. Mark is the same as always - golden, fierce, always living in the moment with no thought of the future. Bryon, meanwhile, is changing drastically, navigating romance and the thoughts that come with growing up. As heartache, relationships, and circumstance pull them apart, will their friendship survive the tumultuous ordeal? Haunting and grimly poignant, this book has simple yet effective plot and multi-dimensional characters that are painfully human. As Bryon explores the complicated realities of life, struggles with tough decisions and deals with the harsh realities of his environment, the reader can't help but root for him. Over the course of the story, a romance full of promise blossoms, a young boy runs away and a friendship is shaken to its core. All the while, the viewer feels happiness, regret, horror, and nostalgia, and the desire for everything to work out in the end. But the underlying theme of S.E. Hinton's gloomy yet superb novel is that everything does not always work out in the end, or go back to the way they were. Perhaps part of growing up is facing some of life's harsh realities, and still being able to persevere, though changed drastically. Violence: 3/5. Fights, beatings, and dangerous activity. Sex: 2/5. Some light sexual references and romance. Drinking, Drugs, and Smoking: 4/5. Some smoking, but most prominent and disturbing is a child's bad reaction to hallucinogenic drugs. Swearing: 1/5. Not notable.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 12+

A good book

Some violence, but if you enjoyed The Outsiders you would like this as well. Also some drug use.

This title has:

Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 12+

Not as good as the Outsiders but still a must-read

I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't as good as the Outsiders but I still really enjoyed it and would suggest it to everyone. It is so realistic and shows the reality of being a teenager. I personally didn't like the ending (won't spoil it) but the rest of the book was very good.
age 14+

Amazing, but for teenagers

I love this book! It really was a Fantastic book, but an un expecting ending. On one page I was mad at the book, and the next I was crying my eyes out. It was an amazing story, but probably for 14 and up. Overall this book made me feel so many feelings. (That goes for all of S.E. Hintons books though!) Truly a MUST READ!!! 5 stars!!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 11+
I could say a lot but I'll just do the TL;DR. Every character was unlikeable, making connections impossible. Large parts of the plot were ignored. The plot and main conflict are almost abstract. It was anti-climatic, and frankly, doing a project on it is insufferable. If you're here checking it out for a school project, turn back now.
age 13+

It's a good book and all, it's ending was just sad. Almost like a cliffhanger. I won't say anything else because it might spoil the book, but Bryon definitely makes some questionable choices.

This title has:

Educational value
age 13+

Good

its a really good book but it has multiple plots instead of one plot but besides that its really good totally recommend

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 14+

Book for Mature Teens

I read this book after reading The Outsiders, the book S.E. wrote before this one. I didn't enjoy this book as much as The Outsiders, but it's hard to top that. This book has some violence, one man is shot in a bar and one character's parents killed each other in a drunken fight. The main characters are injured in some minor fights. The main thing in this book you should be cautioned about it drugs. One character becomes a drug dealer to earn money, and although he never takes it himself it ends up ruining his life. Lots of minor characters take the drug, and let another younger character take it. The results are not good, but the character survives. The effect that drugs have on people is never shown in a positive way, and S.E. Hinton makes sure of that. The main characters, Mark and Byron, are not great role models. Cathy, Byron's friend/girlfriend is a good person and is gentle and kind. I didn't enjoy this book very much. Maybe it was because I was expecting it to be more like The Outsiders. I recommend it for kids over 14 or 15. Even though I didn't love it, I think it does show how horrible drugs are, which is something people should realize in today's world.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 12+

What I think

age 8+