That Was Then, This Is Now
I looked across the street, watching some little twelve and
thirteen year-old teeny-boppers
make fools of themselves-smoking, trying to act cool, pushing each other, screaming and swearing so loud I could hear them. I had a sudden recollection of Mark and me at twelve, smoking our heads off, clowning around, hoping someone-usually some little long-haired chick-would notice us and see how cool we were. All of a sudden it seemed like I was a hundred years old, or thirty at least. I wondered if, when I got to be twenty, I would think how stupid I was at sixteen. When I remembered us, it didn't seem possible that we had looked as silly as these teenyboppers, but I guess we had. At least then we weren't worried about looking silly. We were sure of ourselves, so sure we were the coolest things to hit town. Now I wasn't so sure.
Bryon and Mark have been as close as brothers for as long as they can remember. Now things are changing. Bryon's growing up, and thinking seriously about who he wants to be. Mark still just lives for the thrill of the moment. The two are growing apart - but holding on - until Bryon faces a terrible decision - one that will change both of their lives forever.
S.E. Hinton on the book:
That Was Then was written as a cure to writers' block. So many readers say the ending made them throw the book against the wall - and I say "Great, you got it!"
First Published: 1971
Published by: Puffin Books
ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 1971
Chicago Tribune Book World Spring Book Festival Honor Book, 1971
Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, 1978