In an effort to provide a more balanced review than the one I just read, I'm going to put forth my two cents. This is only exploring the book, for the movie is like comparing apples and oranges. Yes, this book has its issues. Bad pacing, characters who never get fully developed or whose motivations never get fully explored, stunted descriptions, and lines so full of Narm they could choke a horse. It also has not aged well and even when I first read it, certain parts already seemed out of place in my late 90s world. As an adult, I can spot these faults all a mile away.
But first reading this as a lonely, insecure, thirteen year old teenager, none of it mattered. All I could see were characters I deeply identified with and a plot that left me crying. And that's what matters. S.E. Hinton did not write this book for an adult audience. How could she, not being one herself? This was meant purely for teenagers, every single one of which has felt out of place at one point or another. For that reason is why it still can be found in the bookshelves of any local bookstore in the Young Adult section. So while it may not hold up well, I still look back on it with fond memories. If you do chance to read it, try to let your inner teen call the shots as you turn the pages instead of merely scoffing at the cheesy line of "Stay gold, Ponyboy."