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BACKGROUND INFORMATION - BIOGRAPHY
Susan Eloise Hinton was born in 1948 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she was raised. She was a good student and attended the University of Tulsa, majoring in education. Her first novel, The Outsiders, was written when she was sixteen years old and published in 1967. Though it is her first book, it is probably her best known. The story revolves around two rival gangs, one rich and the other poor. The book is remarkable for its action-packed plot, believable characters, and realistic language. Her second novel, That was Then, This is Now (1971), again deals with the problems of teenage boys and drug abuse. Rumble Fish (1975) is the story of a fourteen-year-old boy, who tries to emulate his elder brother, a former gang leader. Tex (1979) deals with two teenage brothers who have been abandoned by their father. Taming the Star Runner (1988) is about Travis, a city boy, who was sent to stay with his uncle on a ranch in the country; like the horse, Star Runner, he is not meant to be tamed.
All of Hinton's novels are set in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she continues to live with her husband and son. Her books deal with teenage problems, such as poverty, rejection, violence, alcohol, and drug abuse. Although her youthful characters often reject authority, they always have a sense of hope during her novels. As a result, they are frequently taught in classrooms at both the high school and middle school levels. In addition, Hinton has received acclaim for her realistic writing. In 1988, she was awarded the first annual Margaret A. Edwards Award by the American Library Association, in honor of "an author whose book or books, over a period of time, have been accepted by young adults as an authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives."