Tony Torres's Reviews > That Was Then, This is Now

That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton
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M_50x66
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Apr 27, 10

Recommended to Tony by: My teacher
Recommended for: Young teens
Read from April 09 to 20, 2010, read count: one

** spoiler alert ** That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton takes place in the southern U.S. in the 1960's and tells the story of two half-brothers Bryon and Mark. After a fight, Bryon meets a girl named Cathy who he dates. Days later Bryon and Mark get into a scuffle with two Texans they try to hustle in pool. Charlie their friend and the bar owner is killed trying to save Mark and Bryan. Later their friend M&M who has smoked marijuana jumps out of the car and is not seen for days. Days later after Bryon and Mark shave their drunken friend Angela's head and throw her onto her front lawn Bryon is beaten up horribly in an act of revenge. When Cathy later visits Bryon in the hospital Bryon admits that he is in love with her. After Bryon recovers he and Cathy find M&M, though they soon realize that he is completely confused. When they take him to the hospital, doctors say that he may never be the normal again. In the end Bryon learns a terrible secret about Mark that pulls them apart forever. While reading the book, I had many positive and negative feelings. First, there is a really funny character named M&M who is always staring into a bag of M&M's and saying how groovy they look. Second,the ending is really shocking and very unexpected. Finally, the book deals with real life situations including the decisions kids make whether or not to use drugs. One negative feeling the book left me with was the book's very depressing ending. Bryon's relationships with both Cathy and Mark are destroyed. Another involves the book's back cover. It states that Bryon will "discover something about Mark". That "something" doesn't occur until the final 5-20 pages of the story, which doesn't give the author enough time to explain the whole concept of what is going on. Finally, there are some very awkward parts like when M&M went berserk after taking drugs. Though the author speaks mostly in slang, it is done well enough to be work and sound normal. Expressions such as "ain't", "cause", "shoot" and a number of curse words are used. The author uses very simple words including "wise", "against", "hard" and others instead of big complex ones. Often her sentences appear to be run-ons. This all seems to work, however, and make the characters seem more believable. For example, the author might say "You ain't my best friend." I can imagine someone speaking like this as it makes it seem more realistic. Overall, I would recommend this book. First, even though the end is really depressing, it has a great surprise. Secondly, some parts are very exciting and have a lot of tension. This was the case when Mark and Bryon were about to get beaten up by two Texans. A final reason is because the plot keeps changing. One of the times this happened was during the prom when Bryon was having a nice time, and then suddenly he's rushing over to a hospital to see if his injured brother is o.k. Three similar books to this are The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, After by Francine Rose, and Taming the Star Runner, also by S.E. Hinton. Overall I gave this book a 9/10
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