That was Then, This is Now is set in the same universe as S. E. Hinton’s first and most successful novel, The Outsiders, written in 1967, 4 years before That was Then, This is Now. Hinton started writing The Outsiders when she was 16 years old, and the book was published when she was 18; That was Then, This is Now was published when Hinton was 22 years old. Even though only 4 years had passed between these two books, the current social and political history surrounding That was Then, This is Now is already different from that of The Outsiders, and so is the maturity of the tone of the book. For example, the divide between Socs and Greasers is no longer as pointed or emphasized. There are four characters from The Outsiders in That was Then, This is Now: Ponyboy Curtis (who was the protagonist of The Outsiders), Tim and Curly Shepard (who were also antagonists in The Outsiders), and Randy Adderson (a defective Soc in The Outsiders, who has now become a hippie and gives Bryon and Mark a lift to the hospital). While the environment has remained the same, and even some of the characters are the same, the atmosphere has changed with the times and with Hinton’s own maturity. Hinton also published the novel Rumble Fish in 1975; it takes places in the same world as the previous two novels, but does not have any specific, explicit overlaps with them.